Showing posts with label MN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MN. Show all posts

MN 2021 Ruffed grouse counts down from last year

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring population counts are down from last year as expected during the declining phase of the species’ 10-year cycle — a predictable pattern recorded for 72 years. Although peaks vary from eight to 11 years apart, the most recent peak in the cycle occurred in 2017.

Ruffed grouse populations are surveyed by counting the number of male ruffed grouse heard drumming on established routes throughout the state’s forested regions. Drumming is a low sound produced by males as they beat their wings rapidly and in increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory. Drumming displays also attract females that are ready to begin nesting.

The spring drumming counts are an important indicator of the ruffed grouse breeding population. The number of birds present during the fall hunting season also depends upon nesting success and chick survival during the spring and summer.

If production of young birds is low during the summer months, hunters may see fewer birds than expected based on counts of drumming males in the spring. Conversely, when production of young is high, hunters may see more birds than anticipated in the fall.

The 2021 statewide survey results for ruffed grouse were 1.3 drums per stop. The most recent peak in 2017 was 2.1 drums per stop. During the low point of the cycles, counts are typically about 0.8 drums per stop.

Drum counts were 1.4 drums per stop in the northeast survey region; 1.1 drums per stop in the northwest; 0.8 drums per stop in the central hardwoods; and 0.9 drums per stop in the southeast survey region.

Read the full Grouse Survey Report

Over 4,000 acres of Potlatch land in Northern MN transferred for public use

Greg Seitz


Almost 4,400 acres of land located between Duluth and Minnesota’s northern border have been acquired by St. Louis County, thanks to efforts by two conservation groups. The deal will transfer lands from forest products company PotlatchDeltic to the county for permanent protection and public access.

 
The county will manage the lands for recreation, wildlife, and sustainable timber harvest.

 
“PotlatchDeltic was one of the largest private industrial forest landowners in St. Louis County, and the impact of that land being sold and developed would reverberate across the North Woods,” said Daryl Peterson, director of restoration programs with the Minnesota Land Trust. “Once land is sold off to a hundred different parties, it is nearly impossible to manage the incredible forest ecosystems native to northern Minnesota.”

 
The Minnesota Land Trust and The Conservation Fund purchased the four large parcels with $4.2 million provided by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment, and then donated them to St. Louis County. The deal was the biggest in Minnesota Land Trust history since it was founded in 1991. Additional funding came from the Four Cedars Environmental Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, and the Wallin family.

 
The protected land fosters many types of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, gray wolves, Canada lynx, and ruffed grouse. It also provides habitat for sensitive bird species, located at the edge of breeding ranges for the Golden-winged and Blackburnian Warbler, as well as the American Woodcock.

 

Read the full Quetico Superior Wilderness News article

Focus Outdoors National Hunt MN Ruffed Grouse Hunting with RGS Video

Focus Outdoors National Hunt MN Ruffed Grouse Hunting with RGS Video


Outdoor Bound TV Bowen Lodge Minnesota Grouse and Woodcock Hunting Video

This week on Outdoor Bound TV, we get ready to hit the woods at famous Bowen Lodge in Northern Minnesota for a little October grouse and woodcock hunting with a group of friends, who gather each year, from all over the U.S., to take part in this special weekend. Come on along, as it's all about good friends, good food and great hunting.

Minnesota ruffed grouse preview: 'Average' season in the cards, DNR wildlife managers predict


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Written By:  Brad Dokken

Trying to predict ruffed grouse hunting prospects is never an exact science, given the thick wooded cover in which the birds are found, but all of the signs this year point to an average season in Minnesota – or perhaps slightly better than average.

Minnesota’s season for ruffed grouse, spruce grouse and Hungarian partridge opens Saturday, Sept. 19. Sharptail season opens Sept. 19 in the Northwest Zone and Saturday, Oct. 10, in the East-central Zone.

Based on spring drumming count surveys, which were abbreviated this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, surveyors from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other cooperators tallied a statewide average of 1.6 drums per stop along their listening routes.

That’s on par with or better than the past five years with the exception of 2017, when the spring survey count was 2.1 drums per stop statewide, a number that didn’t translate into better hunting success that fall and left many DNR experts shaking their heads.

By the numbers

Biologists tally spring ruffed grouse abundance by following set routes and stopping to listen for the “drumming” sound male ruffs make as the birds rapidly beat their wings in an effort to attract a mate.

By region, this year’s survey tallied 1.7 drums per stop in the Northeast, which encompasses the core of Minnesota grouse range; 1.2 drums per stop in the Northwest, down from a statewide high last year of 2.1 drums per stop; and 1.2 drums per stop in the Central Hardwoods.

The Southeast survey region wasn’t sampled this year. The DNR didn’t conduct a sharptail survey this past spring because of the pandemic.

Read the full article for more reports and updates

 

 

 

 

Minnesota 2020 Ruffed grouse counts similar to last year



Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring population counts are similar to last year and likely are following the 10-year cycle of rise and fall—a predictable pattern recorded for 71 years. Due to COVID-related restrictions, this past spring’s drumming counts in southeastern Minnesota were not conducted as planned.

As the DNR was able to resume more field operations in May, there was still time to conduct drumming counts in more northerly portions of the state, where grouse breeding occurs later.

While spring drumming counts that were conducted produced similar results as last year, only having counts from the northern region—which has more forest and holds more grouse—likely means the statewide index is higher than it would be if the southeastern region was included.

Some consider the ruffed grouse the “king of game birds” because it’s a challenge to pursue, a thrill to witness on the wing and a delicious wild game entrée when served. These birds are native to Minnesota—the top ruffed grouse-producing state in the coterminous United States, with millions of acres of public land for hunters and their dogs to explore.

Drumming counts are an indicator of the ruffed grouse breeding population. However, the number of birds present during the fall hunting season also depends upon nesting success and chick survival during the spring and summer.

The number of birds present during the fall hunting season also depends upon nesting success and chick survival during the spring and summer.

If production of young birds is low during the summer months, hunters may see fewer birds than expected based on counts of drumming males in the spring. Conversely, when production of young is high, hunters may see more birds in the fall.

The 2020 survey results for ruffed grouse were 1.6 drums per stop. The averages during 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 were 1.1, 1.3, 2.1, 1.5 and 1.6 respectively. Counts vary from about 0.6 drums per stop during the years of cyclical low grouse abundance to about 2.0 during years of high abundance.

Drum counts were 1.7 drums per stop in the northeast survey region; counts were 1.2 drums per stop in the northwest; 1.2 drums per stop in the central hardwoods; and no routes were completed during the appropriate survey window in the southeast survey region.

Drumming is a low sound produced by males as they beat their wings rapidly and in increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory. Drumming displays also attract females that are ready to begin nesting. Ruffed grouse populations are surveyed by counting the number of male ruffed grouse heard drumming on established routes throughout the state’s forested regions.

“In a typical year we have 16 cooperating organizations providing folks to help us count grouse drumming,” Roy said. “We are grateful to our federal and tribal partners, some of whom conducted extra routes to get surveys completed during the pandemic.”
Biologists were not able to collect sharp-tailed grouse survey data this year during the pandemic.

The Minnesota grouse hunting season opens on Saturday, Sept. 19. More information about ruffed grouse hunting and sampling, the grouse survey report and West Nile virus is available on the DNR grouse hunting page.


RESULTS & DISCUSSION Ruffed GrouseObservers from 11 cooperating organizations surveyed 102 routes (80% of all routes) between 21 April and 13 May 2020, with 84% of northern routes completed and 42% of southern routes completed. Most routes (89%) were surveyed between 21 April and 10 May, with a median survey date of May 6, which is similar to last year (May 4) and the median survey date for the most recent 10 years (May 3). Observers reported Excellent (61%), Good (37%), and Fair (2%) survey conditions for 95 routes reporting conditions.  

Statewide counts of ruffed grouse drums averaged 1.6 dps (95% confidence interval = 1.2–1.9dps) during 2020 (Figure 3). Drum counts were 1.7 (1.3–2.0) dps in the Northeast survey region (n = 92 routes), 1.2 (1.0–1.3) dps in the Northwest survey region (n = 5), 1.2 (0.4–2.2) dps in the Central Hardwoods survey region (n = 10), and no routes were completed during the appropriate survey window in the Southeast survey region (Figure 4a-d).  

Statewide drum counts were similar to last year. I received 5 surveys from 2019 after the report was written last year, and updated results are included here. The southern survey regions tend to have lower average counts than the northern regions each year, and because southern regions were not surveyed in 2020, the statewide index is likely higher than it would be if southern routes were included. In the Northeast and Northwest, counts were similar to or down from last year, respectively. In the Central Hardwoods, observers surveyed only the northern portion of the region where counts tend to be higher, which likely explains the slightly higher, although not statistically different, dps in this region in 2020 compared to 2019. The most recent peak in the 10-year cycle occurred in 2017. Although peaks in the cycle occur on average approximately every 10 years, they vary from 8 to 11 years apart (Figure 3). Recent survey data indicate that ruffed grouse are in the declining phase of the 10-year cycle in Minnesota.

 Read the original DNR Article

Ruffed Grouse Society Twin Cities Meet n Greet

Ruffed Grouse Society - Twin Cities Meet n Greet
When Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:30pm – 6:30pm (CST)
Where Tattersall Distilling - 1620 Central Ave NE. Minneapolis, MN 55413


Interested in helping with the Twin Cities Ruffed Grouse Society. We'll be talking about Where, When, What opportunities are to take part. Just show up and chat about bird hunting and banquets

Minnesota DNR offers hunting tips, locations for new grouse hunters

Hunter walking trails wind through prime grouse habitat throughout central and northern Minnesota


Minnesota has 600 miles of hunter walking trails located in the northern forested area of the state where grouse are most abundant. There are more than 200 hunter walking trails, and most have marked parking areas at the trailhead.
“Hunter walking trails are a fun way to check out new areas and they do provide good hunting,” said Ted Dick, forest game bird coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “New hunters can follow these trails and not worry about getting lost or wandering off public land. And you can get away from trucks and four-wheelers and into some decent grouse habitat.”

An avid grouse and woodcock hunter himself, Dick has taken youth and new hunters on hunter walking trails over the years and uses the trails as a convenient way to discover new hunting areas.
The DNR partners with other organizations and land managers to maintain hunter walking trails. A $300,000 grant from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund to the Minnesota Ruffed Grouse Society will restore approximately 200 trailheads and 80 miles of existing trails, add 20 miles of new trails and update trail maps for land managers and trail users.

The DNR and partners developed the system of hunter walking trails beginning in the 1970s. Timber harvest around the trails is the main tool used to create quality grouse and woodcock habitat. The trails wind their way through wildlife management areas, ruffed grouse management areas, state forests and other types of public land.

Downloadable maps of hunter walking trails and more information can be found on the hunter walking trails page at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/hwt/index.html.

Read the full Duluth News Tribune article for more tips and info.

MN 2019 Ruffed Grouse counts similar to last year




















Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were similar statewide this year to last year. 

DNR biologists have monitored ruffed grouse populations for the past 70 years and this year, DNR staff and cooperators from 14 organizations surveyed 131 established routes across the state’s forested region. 

Each year on the routes, surveyors count the number of grouse drums they hear. Drumming is the low sound male grouse make as they beat their wings rapidly and in increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory and attract females ready to begin nesting. 

Drumming counts are an indicator of the ruffed grouse breeding population. Grouse populations tend to rise and fall on a 10-year cycle that can vary from 8 to 11 years, and Minnesota’s most recent population peak was in 2017.

2019 survey results

The 2019 survey results for ruffed grouse were 1.5 drums per stop statewide. The averages during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 were 0.9, 1.1, 1.1, 1.3, 2.1, and 1.5, respectively. Counts vary from about 0.6 drums per stop during years of low grouse abundance to about 2.0 during years of high abundance.
Results this year follow a decrease from 2017 to 2018. In the northeast survey region, which is the core of Minnesota’s grouse range, counts were 1.6 drums per stop; in the northwest there were 2.1 drums per stop; in the central hardwoods, 0.8 drums per stop; and in the southeast, 0.7 drums per stop. 
Check the DNR’s grouse hunting webpage for the 2019 grouse survey report and grouse hunting information.

Outdoor Bound TV Bowen Lodge Minnesota Grouse and Woodcock Hunting EP147 Video

This week on Outdoor Bound TV, we get ready to hit the woods at famous Bowen Lodge in Northern Minnesota for a little October grouse and woodcock hunting with a group of friends, who gather each year, from all over the U.S., to take part in this special weekend. Come on along, as it's all about good friends, good food and great hunting.

2017 Ruffed grouse numbers lagging for hunters in Wisconsin, Minnesota

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
After one month of the 2017 season, hunters have been flushing fewer ruffed grouse in the bird's Upper Midwest strongholds of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The relative lack of grouse comes after spring drumming counts were reportedly up double digits in both states.
In addition, grouse populations were expected to be higher this year as the species was rising from its 10-year cyclical low.
The dearth of birds has been noted in field reports from hunters as well as results from the annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt in Grand Rapids, Minn., organized by the Ruffed Grouse Society.
"Something is going on," said Jim Hayett of Hartland, an avid grouse hunter and former RGS national board member who has spent 10 days in October hunting on public and private land near Park Falls, Wis., and Grand Rapids, Minn. "The numbers were supposed to be up and it's looking like the complete opposite."
At the national hunt held Thursday and Friday in Grand Rapids, Minn., hunters harvested an average of 0.5 grouse per day, lowest in the 36-year history of the event.
After one month of the 2017 season, hunters have been flushing fewer ruffed grouse in the bird's Upper Midwest strongholds of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The relative lack of grouse comes after spring drumming counts were reportedly up double digits in both states.
In addition, grouse populations were expected to be higher this year as the species was rising from its 10-year cyclical low.
The dearth of birds has been noted in field reports from hunters as well as results from the annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt in Grand Rapids, Minn., organized by the Ruffed Grouse Society.
"Something is going on," said Jim Hayett of Hartland, an avid grouse hunter and former RGS national board member who has spent 10 days in October hunting on public and private land near Park Falls, Wis., and Grand Rapids, Minn. "The numbers were supposed to be up and it's looking like the complete opposite."
At the national hunt held Thursday and Friday in Grand Rapids, Minn., hunters harvested an average of 0.5 grouse per day, lowest in the 36-year history of the event.
Read the full article

Learn about Ruffed Grouse hunting - Brainerd / Baxter MN - Dec 4 2014


Come learn about grouse hunting and habitat opportunities in Minnesota at the Ruffed Grouse Society Drumming Log Chapter meet and greet event at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 4 at Gander Mountain in Baxter.

Minnesota DNR Forest Gamebird Coordinator Ted Dick and RGS Regional Director Mark Fouts will be there to discuss current and future grouse habitat projects in Minnesota along with grouse hunting information. They will also answer questions from attendees.

Become an active part in helping RGS improve the environment for ruffed grouse, woodcock, songbirds and a host of other forest wildlife in Minnesota. Snacks & beverages will be served.

To reserve a place at the event or for more information, contact: Matt Soberg, RGS Editor, 218-232-6227, editor@ruffedgrousesociety.org.

One more time for MN late-season grouse

By Ron Anlauf

A recent trip to the Grand Rapids area with my buddy Tom Thiry for one of the last of the year grouse hunts was a success with numerous birds flushed. And better yet, some of them made it to the game bag, and there is no finer dining than when grouse is the main entrée.


Things didn’t start out with a bang, though, and it took some extra miles and downright difficult walking to find the numbers we were looking for.

The thickest of the downed trees were along a south facing slope that dropped down into a beaver pond, and that is where we busted the first bird and then the next nine or 10. In a short 300-yard stretch, we flushed at least 10 birds, four of which didn’t make it.

Grand Rapids, MN and The Ruffed Grouse Society Host 33rd Annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt

The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) is holding the 33rd annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt (NGWH) in Grand Rapids, Oct. 7 through Oct. 10. Since 1982, the NGWH has delivered a forum to promote the organization’s wildlife conservation activities, to provide an opportunity to study grouse and woodcock ecology and to celebrate the sporting traditions inherent in grouse and woodcock hunting.


The event features a sporting clays competition and outdoor festival at the Grand Rapids Gun Club, which includes professional shooting instruction, interaction with Purina and SportDOG representatives and a deluxe barbecue. Hunting will occur on Thursday, Oct. 9 and Friday Oct. 10 followed by various social events at the Sawmill Inn.

Read the full Herald Review article

MN Northland Ruffed Grouse hunter shoots wolf that was threatening his hunting dog



A grouse hunter walking a trail on state land near Aurora on Sunday shot a young wolf that had snapped at his yellow Labrador retriever, said Don Bozovsky, a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The hunter, who Bozovsky said wished not to be identified, was a young man. The hunter was walking a trail on state land at about 3:25 p.m. when the dog encountered the wolf on the trail, Bozovsky said. Fearing that the wolf would attack the dog, the hunter shot the wolf twice with a 12-gauge shotgun at a distance of about 8 feet, Bozovsky said.

Read the rest of the Duluth News Tribune article

The Traveling Wingshooter 2014: Ruffed Grouse Forecast MN, MI, ME, WI, NY, PA

by Dave Smith

Ruffed grouse hunters in the Great Lakes region have learned over generations to pursue ruffs when they peak in their 9-to-11 year cycle, which last occurred between 2009 and 2011. Each year since has been marked by a predictable decline, but the results of this springˊs drumming surveys show an increase, statewide, in Minnesota and Michigan, and a slight increase in northern Wisconsin.

The M's


"This may indicate the beginning of an upswing in the grouse cycle, which has been in the declining phase since 2009," said Charlotte Roy, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Roy reported a 34 percent increase in the annual drumming surveys statewide, driven by the birdˊs prime range in northern Minnesota.

Michiganˊs drumming surveys revealed an increase from 10 to 12 drums per route, according to Al Stewart, Upland Game Bird Specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Further, Stewart says that the heavy snow this winter and ideal moisture conditions this spring were perfect for over-winter survival and reproduction, thus he is cautiously optimistic for a slight increase in grouse numbers this fall.

Grouse populations in Maine have declined from the recent peak but are still near the long-term average, and this yearˊs hatch makes for a promising hunting season. "We had favorable weather for grouse nesting and hatch," said Kelsey Sullivan, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "Drumming surveys completed this spring revealed that areas with quality grouse habitat – such as much of northern Maine above Old Town – showed good activity, so I expect production will be relatively good."

2014 MINNESOTA SPRING GROUSE SURVEYS

Statewide Ruffed Grouse drum counts increased 34%
this year.

Increases were driven by changes in
the northern portion of the state, in the prime ruffed grouse range.

This increase is consistent with changes expected with
the 10 year cycle, with the most recent peak
in drum counts during 2009.


The cycle is less pronounced in the more southern regions of the state, near the edge of their range.

MN Ruffed grouse counts see increase, possibly signaling uptrend


Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were significantly higher than last year across most of the bird’s range, according to a survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

“Ruffed grouse drums increased 34 percent from the previous year, with the increase happening in the northern part of the state,” said Charlotte Roy, DNR grouse project leader. “This may signal the start of an upswing in the grouse cycle that since 2009 has been in the declining phase.”

The increase is consistent with changes typical of the 10-year grouse cycle. The most recent peak in drum counts occurred in 2009. The cycle is less pronounced in the more southern regions of the state, near the edge of the ruffed grouse range.

RGS Reports National Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Hunt Results

The RGS reports national ruffed grouse and woodcock hunt results.  The Ruffed Grouse Society’s National Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Hunt is conducted during the second week in October each year in and around Grand Rapids, Minnesota. This world-class event is sponsored and coordinated by the Grand Rapids MN Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society. Chapter volunteers contribute literally thousands of hours of their time to make the Hunt happen.  The hunt is hosted at the Sawmill Inn, owned by the Jacobson family.  ”We are proud to host this annual event each year; it gives us an opportunity to showcase the very best Grand Rapids has to offer,” Wayne Jacobson shares.

The Hunt provides an unparalleled opportunity to study the population ecology of ruffed grouse and woodcock. The manner in which the Hunt is structured is what makes it so unique in the field of wildlife research and so valuable to wildlife conservation.


The late Gordon W. Gullion, universally acknowledged as the world’s expert on ruffed grouse, immediately recognized the scientific potential of the Hunt when the event was first held in 1982. Gullion understood that because the Hunt is conducted in the same locale, at the same time each year and using the same methods, it provides an outstanding opportunity to study the annual variation of the local ruffed grouse population and how that variation relates to the 10-year cycle.

How to ... Hunt ruffed grouse this late in the season

October has much to offer the Minnesota hunter — ducks, geese, bowhunting for deer. As for ruffed grouse, the season continues through the end of the year, so I usually wait for December to hunt them.
December grouse hunts, though, bear little resemblance to the flush jaunts of October.

Locating grouse during December can be difficult because the birds are usually concentrated in small areas. Once found they are easily spooked, rarely holding for a pointing dog, let alone for a hunter trudging through noisy, crusted snow.


Despite those adversities — in some cases because of them — I love hunting grouse during the late season.