By John Myers
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources this week announced the annual spring drumming survey of ruffed grouse showed below-average counts while the spring waterfowl breeding survey indicates good numbers and excellent habitat conditions.
DNR wildlife biologists reported a 5% decrease statewide in ruffed grouse drumming activity from 2021.
“These results are not surprising. Ruffed grouse typically follow a 10-year population cycle,” said Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife surveys specialist. “While we don’t have data for 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, we know that cycles usually peak in years ending in 9, 0 or 1. We’re likely going to see that abundance begin to wane in the coming years as we enter the down phase of the cycle.”
During the spring mating ritual, male ruffed grouse beat their wings slowly and then more rapidly to create a deep, drumming sound. Surveyors listen to this sound to identify and count male ruffed grouse each spring.
You can find more on wildlife surveys on the DNR's wildlife reports webpage at