Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michigan. Show all posts

Michigan 2014 Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Forecast

Ryan Vander Wagen, C. Alan Stewart and Lori Sargent

Spring Breeding Surveys Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey Ruffed grouse drumming counts were conducted statewide from 105 survey routes during April and May 2014.

Significant weather conditions during the survey periods delayed couple route regionally
in 2014.

There was an average of 12.43 drums heard per routes statewide, a 16% increase from 2013 (10.77) average (Figure 8). Highest drumming counts were in Zone 1(Upper Peninsula; 14.86), following Zone 2 (Northern Lower Peninsula; 11.64) and Zone 3 (Southern Lower Peninsula; 4.14)
(Figure 7).

Woodcock Singing
ground Survey Results of Michigan Woodcock singing - ground survey were based on preliminary analysis of data from 95 survey routes (Cooper and Rau 2014). There was significant changes in the woodcock index for Michigan in 2013 and 2014 were detected. An average of 5.43 and 5.20 singing males were heard per route in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

The 2013 Central Region index, consisting of information from Illinois, Indiana, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Ontario and Wisconsin, was significantly different from 2013 (n=408
, P<0.05). In the Central Region, there was an average of 2.70 and 2.57 singing males heard per route in 2013 and 2014, respectively (Cooper and Rau 2014).

Significant declines in the number of singing males were detected in Michigan and Central Region during 2014 - 2014. This is the first time in three years that the trend has shown a decline in the
Central Region (Cooper and Rau 2014). Michigan and the Central Region have experienced an average Long - term decline of 0.77% and 0.90% per year, respectively, since 1968 (P<0.05; Cooper
and Rau 2014).

Michigan 2013 Grouse Forecast

Michigan 2013 Spring Breeding Surveys

Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey
Ruffed grouse drumming counts were conducted statewide 
along 97 survey routes during April and May 2013. 
There was an average of 10.7 drums heard per routes 
statewide, a 13 % decline from 2012 (12.3) average
(Figure 8). 

Highest drumming counts were in Zone 1 
(Upper Peninsula; 14.4), following by Zone 2 
(Northern Lower Peninsula; 9.4) and Zone 3 
(Southern Lower Peninsula; 6.4) (Figure 7).

In 2012, 103 survey routes were conducted statewide and 
paired t - tests were performed to statistically compare 
data from 87 identical routes run in both 2012 and 2013. 

Statewide there was a 10.3 % decrease 
(n=87; t=1.15 , P=0.25) in the average number of 
drums heard per route between 2012 (11.8) and 2013 
(10.6). Analysis at the regional scale indicated there 
was no significant difference (n=26; t=0.82 , P=0.41) 
in the number of drums heard per route in Zone 1 
(Upper Peninsula) between 2012 (17.4) and 2013 (14.9). 
There was no significant change in the average number 
of drums heard per route in Zone 2 
(Northern Lower Peninsula)

between 2012 (9.9) and 2013 (9.1; n=53 ; t= 0.90 , P=0.38 ).
In zone 3, there were 8 routes conducted in both 2012 
and 2013. Due to the low sample size, statistical analysis 
at the Zone 3 regional scale is not appropriate.

Observations from the 2012 Ruffed Grouse Opener

I had the good fortune of celebrating the ruffed grouse hunting opener in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula over the weekend with a large contingent of my immediate family. While we didn’t spend every moment of daylight scouring the woods, four ruffs found their way into our game vests. In the afterglow of barbecued grouse jalapeno poppers, I offer the following observations:
  • The Woods were Grousey! Although all Midwest drumming counts will indicate our slide on the downward side of the grouse cycle, there are absolutely enough birds to keep the aspen and alder woods exciting. Our group averaged 2.5 grouse flushes per hour in four hours of hunting on Saturday and one hour of hunting on Sunday. And our group included me, my brother, his 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter, my mom, my dad and two shorthairs. In other words, we weren’t exactly a stealth group of grouse hunters.
  • A Special Family Opener. Many folks will complain about the grouse opener being too warm or tough hunting with the woods filled with leaves. The grouse opener is particularly special to me and has become a St.Pierre family tradition. A little over 13 years ago, my dad suffered an aneurysm that nearly took his life. Thanks to medicine and miracles, I am always thankful to spend another walk through the September grouse woods with my dad. This year was extra special as my brother joined us for his first bird hunt in two decades. And, to top it off my niece and nephew slapped on their blaze orange Pheasants Forever gear and joined the family tradition. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
  • Grouse Broods already Dispersed. It seems the grouse family groups had already broken up in the grouse covers we walked. Every flush was a solo bird. Perhaps the early spring in the Northwoods did indeed result in an earlier hatch. If that were to be the case, it’d make sense for the grouse family groups to already be broken.
  • Crazy about Timberdoodles. I was amazed by the number of woodcock we encountered on opening weekend: the most I can ever remember on a grouse opener. Presumably, the migration hasn’t yet begun so these would have been local ‘doodles. We averaged 3.5 woodcock flushes per hour. My older shorthair, Trammell, showed mid-season form pointing numerous woodcock right out of the gates, which presented a number of “honoring” opportunities for my 6-month-old pup, Izzy. NOTE: Michigan’s woodcock hunting season doesn’t up until September 22nd.