Showing posts with label ruffed grouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ruffed grouse. Show all posts

Ruffed Grouse Society Announces 2013 Wisconsin Drummer Fund Projects

Record  15 Projects Approved For Funding
Coraopolis, PA – The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) has selected 15 projects to receive over $58,000 during 2013 through its Wisconsin Drummer Fund program.  The projects are designed to benefit habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife species that rely upon young forests for survival.  Partners receiving RGS funding for projects in Wisconsin in 2013 include county forestry departments in Douglas, Florence, Marathon, Oconto, Washburn, Wood, and Vilas Counties, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Other partners providing support for these projects include the American Bird Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to John Eichinger, RGS President and CEO, “2013 is a record year for the Wisconsin Drummer Fund with the most funds being distributed to the highest number of projects that RGS has ever supported in Wisconsin. Our ability to fund these important projects is highly dependent on the dedicated efforts of the volunteer members of our local RGS chapters in Wisconsin.”

The Wisconsin Drummer Fund was initiated in 2010 and is the direct result of funds being raised specifically at Wisconsin RGS chapter fund raising events and through direct member donations.  Since its inception, nearly $157,000 has been made available through the Wisconsin Drummer Fund to support 40 Wisconsin grouse and woodcock projects.  These funds have been matched by other agencies and organizations and have resulted in over $350,000 worth of projects being funded in Wisconsin since 2010.

Wisconsin Drummer Fund Projects approved for 2013 include:
  • Big Roche A Cri Alder Regeneration/Adams and Waushara Counties – Wisconsin DNR
  • Clam Lake Wildlife Area Alder Regeneration/Burnett County – Wisconsin DNR
  • Colburn Wildlife Area Alder Regeneration/Adams County– Wisconsin DNR
  • Douglas County Alder Regeneration – Wisconsin DNR and Douglas County Forestry Department
  • Hall’s Creek Hunting Trail Expansion/Florence County – Florence County Forestry Department
  • Kubisiak Ruffed Grouse Management Area Aspen Regeneration/Wood County – Wisconsin DNR and Wood County Forestry Department
  • Marathon County Alder Regeneration – Wisconsin DNR and Marathon County Forestry Department
  • Oconto County Grouse Hunting Trail Development – Wisconsin DNR and Oconto County Forestry Department
  • Parker Creek Alder Regeneration/Polk County – Wisconsin DNR
  • Peshtigo Harbor Woodcock Habitat Restoration/Marinette County – Wisconsin DNR
  • Vilas County Hunting Trail Rehabilitation - Vilas County Forestry Department
  • Washburn County Wildlife Openings – Washburn County Forestry Department
  • Woodcock Management Video Development – Wisconsin DNR
  • Wood County Buckthorn Treatment – Wisconsin DNR and Wood County Forestry Department
  • Young Forest Private Landowner Outreach – Wisconsin DNR

Top Secret MN Grouse Hunting Spot Revealed - Grand Rapids Area




















Thursday 10 / 20 / 11

45 degs and Sunny.

I am lucky enough to have a job where I can occasionally skip out for an afternoon and make up my time in the evening.  I decided that today was one of those days as it was cool and sunny.  It has been gray and windy the past few days and I’ve had good luck a few times when I was able to hunt the first sunny day after a few crappy days.

Tina and I started out at a small area that we have seen birds at each time that we have hunted it this year.  We have never gotten a bird here though.  In fact the last time we hunted this spot, three of us moved 4 birds and didn’t put one in the bag.

When we pulled in I could tell that the area had been hit fairly hard in the days since we had last hunted it.  The grass on the trail was much more beat down by people driving in.  We worked the trail out and bushwhacked through the clearcut on the way back and didn’t move a bird.

Off to the second area.  I marked this area “ Don’t Hunt “ as it is mostly older growth and we have only seen one bird there.  I decided to give it a shot again though as it was on the way to the third area and the trails were easy walking for 15 yr old Marge.  After about going 100 yards down the trail she locked up solid.  I started to look around and just as I looked to the right into some saplings the grouse came up and with the shot the grouse came down.  I’m always excited when one of the dogs has a nice point that produces a bird but I am even more so when one of the old timers can have it happen.  We worked the trail for another 40 minutes but didn’t move another bird.  After putting Marge back into her travel kennel I got out Fergie and we went for a stroll.  Even though she is totally blind she still loves to get out and smell the air.  We did a short walk and then returned to the truck.

Our next spot was a MN Hunter Walking Trail.  These trails are well publicized  by the state so they aren’t any big secret but this one has decent habitat diversity and we have seen birds here before.  The hunt started well with Tina going on point less than 100 yards from the truck and and easy straight away shot put the bird into the bag.  The next bird was luckier as Tina had a good point on a corner and it broke down the side of the trail that I hadn’t gotten to yet and I didn’t even get off a shot.

We had started to hunt an area of the trail system that I hadn’t been able to cover yet and I could hear Tina working off to the side in an area of thick pine trees.  I was starting to get a bit impatient as she didn’t really seem to be working the type of cover that had been producing birds when her beeper collar indicated that she was on point.  I made my way into the pine trees but couldn’t see where she was when I heard a flush and saw just a flicker of the bird.  I still couldn’t see or hear Tina when I heard a second flush and was able to get off a snap shot.  I couldn’t see if I had hit the bird or not but I heard a thud letting me know that I had connected.  A third bird flushed but I passed on the shot as I wanted to make sure I had correctly marked down the bird.  As I made my way to the bird I could see Tina holding her point downwind of where the birds had flushed.

As we made our way back to the truck another wild flush from the opposite side of the trail that Tina was working caught me by surprise and I wasn’t able to get off a shot.  I was feeling pretty good about getting three birds already and was daydreaming a bit...

About 25 yards from the truck is an area where two of the trails come together and create a choke point and Tina started to get really birdy but I figured “ how could there be any this close to the truck “.  I was about to find out as she locked on point and I moved up the trail to cut them off by the edge of the trail intersection.  A flush and a hurried shot saw the bird fly off unharmed but the shot sent another bird up and this one wasn’t as lucky and became bird number four in the bag.

There was still and good 90 minutes of daylight left and Tina was still showing good energy so I decided to take a look at the other trail that starts at the parking area.  It started out by going through an area of younger growth but soon changed to older cover.  The trail split and we took the fork to the right after a short time it hit and area of blow down and Tina started to get birdy again.  She was a decent distance through the blowdown and off to my left when the beeper signaled point.  I wasn’t too excited about making my way through all of the logs to get to where she was but she had been pretty good with her points as of late so I thought it would be worth it.  As I started to approach her I was off her right side and could see that the cover was much thinner past where she was pointing.  As I passed her I could see that it was actually the other fork of the trail and as I stepped onto the trail a bird got up from in front of her and I again missed and again I was lucky enough to have a second bird get up and even luckier when I was able to connect and drop it just a little distance up the trail to make for an easy retrieve for Tina.

All five of our birds came from public land and four out of the five came from a well marked Hunter Walking Trail in the Grand Rapids, Mn area.

The Garmin Astro said that Tina covered 7.9 miles in 2 hrs and 17 minutes

If You Want To Hunt It Helps To Bring The F'n Guns... Deer River MN Grouse Hunt

Thursday 10/27/11

Tina With Her Deer River MN Woodcock and Grouse



















When going grouse hunting it usually helps if you bring the f’n guns with.  I had planned on trying out two new ( new to me ) Hunter Walking Trails in the Bowstring area but as I was 40 minutes into our 45 minute drive I realized that I had forgotten to put any guns into the Trailblazer.  I turned around and went back to the cabin, grabbed a gun, and  headed out back to hunt.  Since I had lost 90 minutes of hunting time I decided to head back to my new old reliable walking trail.

Tina got the call as usual.  We made our way past the the first blow down without moving any birds but she started to get real birdy as we approached an area that is blowdowns and a few pine trees mixed in.  She went on point about 20 yards into the blow down and as I tried to pick out a good spot to move towards her a grouse took off another 10 yards past her.  I wasn’t quick enough to get off a shot.

After another 15 minutes of walking we came to an area that was a bit lower and wetter than the surrounding terrain and Tina started to tighten up her range.  She tightened it up to a nice solid point.  I made my way further up the trail and started to cut back to her in hopes of trapping the bird between us.  I got closer and closer and no flush but also no movement from Tina.  I got close enough to start to check out the cover right in front of her and was able to spot the woodcock right in front of her.  One more step and the bird came up.  I held off on the shot as I’m not that big on eating woodcock.  As the day progressed we moved a total of seven woodcock and I ended up taking one to reward Tina for all of her hard work.

Towards the end of the trail we took a smaller trail that loops through a newer area of clear cut as we got to the transition area Tina locked up and was looking off to her left.  I  was looking for a way in when the grouse made its escape from behind a pine tree.  Two steps either direction and I would have had a clear shot but as it was I could only just watch it fly off.

The next bird wasn’t so lucky.  We had turned around and were headed back through a section of small pines when Tina started to move into the cover.  I could hear her making her way through some of the thicker area and then I didn’t hear her moving any longer.  Her point was confirmed by her beeper going off.  I continued up the trail a short distance until I could find a good entry point.  I made it about 15 yards into the cover before I could see that she was still in full point mode.  Just as I pulled even with her the grouse flushed and gave me a right to left passing shot.  I connected but it wasn’t a fatal blow.  Tina gave chase and brought the bird to me.  She doesn’t always do a full retrieve so that fact that she did made it extra special.

On the rest of the walk back to the truck we moved three more grouse and I wasn’t able to connect with any of the birds.  As usual the problem was between the gun and the boots.

Considering that the day started with me making a major blunder I was happy to have moved six grouse and seven woodcock while collecting one of each.

Grouse Ecology - Species & Ecosystem Science

Ruffed Grouse Ecology
Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) are widely distributed in North America. In many states they are the only species of grouse present and are popular among sportsman. Within Washington, they are found in forests where hardwoods are present. They are generally not found in the sagebrush and grassland habitats of the basin or the dense conifer habitats of the Cascades. Although they appear to prefer mixed or solid aspen forests and woodlands in eastern Washington, they are somewhat ‘flexible’ in that they can use other types of forests, particularly in western Washington.
Male ruffed grouse are well-known for their ‘drumming’ breeding display. The male usually stands on a ‘drumming’ log and beats his wings about 50 times in 8 to 11 seconds with increasing speed to produce a loud ‘drumming’ sound.
Current Research
Selected Publications
Other Links and Resources

Ruffed Grouse Hunt - Deer River, MN Day 2

Tina and Her Deer River Mn Grouse



















October 2nd, 2011

Saturday night was a long night as the dogs had drank so much water during the day that they kept having to go outside.  They woke me up at 11:30, 12:45, 1:30, and 4:30.  After the 4:30 wake up I put their training collars on them and they stayed quite.  Too quite it turned out as I ended up sleeping until 9 am.  That ruled out the longer drive to try some new areas that I had mapped out as it was already starting to get warm out.  so I decided to retry some of the areas from the day before to see if they still looked good.

The first spot that we went to was the walking trail area.  Tina and I started by walking a different section of the trail system.  After 30 minutes she hadn’t really gotten birdy at all we turned around and headed back to the section that we walked on Saturday.  Within 10 minutes she locked up solid and I was able to connect on a nice crossing shot.  We walked a while longer and didn’t move any other birds.

Next it was Marge’s turn to see if the forest road with the older growth would produce another bird.  We worked the trail a fair amount and while she did get a little birdy in a few spots we didn’t have any success actually moving one.  After getting back to the truck I got out Fergie and took her for a walk.  She can’t see but she still loves getting out in the woods and sniffing the air.

Tina and I then took a chance on the first spot that we had hunted yesterday.  The temperature was over 70 so it was a good last spot to try.  We went down the trail next to the clear cut and it still looked promising but it was just so dry it was hard to know if the scenting was decent at all.  We ended up going through the new growth to get back to the truck and she did make a nice point but it was so thick I couldn’t get into a good shooting position when I did flush the grouse.

Even though we cut the day short we did put one bird in the bag, confirmed that two spots were still a good bet, and ruled out another.

Ruffed Grouse Hunt Deer River, MN Day One

Saturday October 1 2011


Typical Cover For The Deer River MN Area




















We left Mpls / St. Paul in the morning and made the three hour drive north.  After stopping at our rented cabin to drop off some gear and supplies we headed to the woods.  I decided to start out by trying some brand new areas to hunt.  I had purchased some maps that were created using Google Earth to show clear cuts and trails.  I loaded the gps info into the Garmin and we were on our way to just north of Deer River, MN.  The first area was two sets of small clear cuts with a small foot trail along one side of them.  As we worked the trail we came to some older growth and moved just a little ways into the new growth and turned back towards the vehicle.  About half way back we got a wild flush and moved towards where it looked like it set down.  Tina was working the scent but we did not make contact again.  It looked like a good enough area and with moving a bird in the 30 minute walk it has made the list to try again.


Spot number two ended up being a forest road that bordered an area that looked to be an older cut over area.  I was skeptical of it’s bird potential but we were there and it looked like easy enough walking for the 15 year old setter Marge.  This turned into and out and back affair but on the way back Marge made a nice point on a young bird and I was able to drop it.  Another 30 minute walk and another bird moved.  This area looked older than I would like but since we got a bird I added it to the try again list. 


Area number three turned out to be a MN Hunter Walking Trail.  There were no other vehicles there and with it hitting 60 degrees we decided to give it a chance.  There ended up being a number of different trails within the system.  We took the trail that looked like it went through the younger looking area.  It was hot and dusty.  The Northern MN area has been pretty dry after a wet and cool spring.  Tina was working a good pattern through the cover and after about 20 minutes and a few non-productive points she had one nailed and I got off a decent shot and connected.  We were able to repeat the pattern on the back side of the loop and collected another one for the game bag.


We made a stab at a fourth new area that also looked good but didn’t move a bird.  It was getting a bit later in the day so we went to our old standby in the Big Fork area.  In the first 40 minutes we moved 10 birds, got off 2 shots and didn’t connect on anything.  In the last 90 minutes we only moved one bird.


All in all it was a good start to the day with three birds in the bag and four new areas to try again.

Ruffed Grouse Hunt - Ely MN September 25th 2011

Tina, Marge, Fergie, and I With Sunday's Grouse Harvest

















Sunday Sept 25th

We actually got rolling a bit earlier this morning than we did yesterday. I dropped my dad off at a new trail that he wanted to try and I went up the road to the spot that we tried for the first time Saturday. There wasn’t much breeze as Tina and I started down the trail, I was curious to see if we would see any birds or if yesterday was a fluke. It took about 15 minutes before she got birdy at all but we didn’t move a bird on the way out. After about 30 minutes we reached the end and turned back. I wasn’t feeling too optimistic at this time. About half way back Tina started to tighten up her quartering and locked solid. I was able to move in and connect on a flush through the brush. We didn’t see anymore birds on the way back to the truck. If we can get a chance at a bird or two each time down this shorter trail I’ll be happy.

I picked up my dad, who hadn’t seen any birds on his walk, and headed to the other short trail that we had hit yesterday. Marge got the call this time and we started off. About 2/3 of the way along the trail she went on point in a small area with thicker cover. It was a strait away shot and I thought I saw the bird go down but wasn’t sure. After looking and not easily seeing anything I got down on my hands and knees and found a couple of batches of feathers. I brought Marge back to the spot and she started to work the trail. After she cut back across the trail I could her the bird trying to make a run for it. Marge was right on her which was a little surprising as she is fairly hard of hearing. After coming back along the forest road we called it quits for this area.

We made another try at our old standby but again were not able to move a bird. We pulled the plug and listened to the Vikings blow a huge half time lead for the third week in a row.

All in all it was a decent weekend. Six birds in the bag, some nice Woodcock points. It was a little disappointing to be moving fewer than 1/2 of the birds that we were seeing last season.

Ruffed Grouse Hunt - Ely MN September 24th 2011

15 Year Old Marge and Her First Grouse Of 2011



















Saturday Sept 24th

We awoke to a foggy morning and started the drive to a new spot that I had found last year.  ( ok, just to be clear that I have never found a “ secret spot” in MN.  All of my grouse hunting is on public land ).  We were lucky and no one else was there.  I dropped my dad off at the turn and then Tina and I got out farther down the road.  We started down the trail and for most of the way she wasn’t getting birdy at all.  Finally in the last 100 yards before we got to the turnaround she started to work some scent.  She went on point along a small strip of pines.  As I moved in the grouse flushed from the back side of the pines and I lucked out as it decided to cut back over the trail and I was able to connect on a nice right to left shot.  We worked the rest of the way back to the vehicle and didn’t move another bird.  On the way back I did hear another shot and was hoping that it was my dad.  I found out that it was in fact him but that he hadn’t connected.

We decided to just drive along the forest road to see if we could find another spot to try.  After a few trails that weren’t long enough to make it worthwhile we did find one that looked like it could be a bit longer.  I unloaded Marge and we made our way down the trail.  As we came over a small rise I could see a beaver pond just to the right.  Just then a grouse was flying up the trail towards us, it flared when it saw Marge and was just out of range.  We looked for it in hopes of getting another opportunity but did not come across it.  Another 10 minutes of walking and Marge started to go into her stealthy stalk mode.  Not exactly classic pointing dog / grouse form but it proved effective as she slid into her point.  As I moved in the bird flushed just behind and to my left.  I made it two for two and the right to left shots.  Not something that happens all that often for me.  

After getting back to the truck we went to a spot that we first started hunting about ten years ago.  The cover has gotten older and the new clear cuts haven’t grown up enough yet but last year it was still productive enough to make it worth a stop.  After getting Fergie her exercise I put Tina back into her beeper and gps collars.  We worked our standard areas for a good our and didn’t move a bird.  I’m hoping that the clear cuts will start to produce some birds in the near future.

We ended up calling it a day around 2 pm as it was starting to warm up a bit and we still had tomorrow to hunt.

Ruffed Grouse September 2011 - Bigfork, MN

Tina With Her First Grouse Of 2011

















Friday Sept 23rd 2011

We left the St. Paul, MN area at about 5:25 am and headed north to the Bigfork area for our first hunt of the season.  After a stop over in Grand Rapids we started to hunt at about 11 am.  There were no vehicles parked at our favorite spot.  It soon became apparent why when we started to walk the area as the telltale signs of logging we everywhere.  We decided to walk the trails that weren’t being traveled by the logging trucks.  Unfortunately the logging was taking place in the areas that produced the most birds last season and not in the older areas that we ended up walking.  We didn’t move any birds in the older growth.  We got to an area of younger growth that has usually held a bird or two in the past so I was hopeful of some action.  Tina didn’t get too birdy until we were almost through the area.  As we got close to the end of the cover she became birdy and I could see the grouse holding just up ahead.  Two steps towards it and it flushed and after the shot we had the  first bird of 2011 in the bag.

The next spot we hunted I call “ the field “.  When I showed it to some friends last year they wondered why “field” was part of the name and I told them that when I started to hunt the spot 10 plus years ago it was a clear cut at the end of the trail and that you could see all the way around it.  Now it is fairly filled in with different types of growth.  Tina and I made our way around the area and were lucky enough to find a grouse on the edge of the cover.  After another nice point I was able to add it to my game bag.

On the way back we followed the edge of a beaver pond and got to really solid points on woodcock.  I was wonder if they knew that the season hadn’t opened on them yet and that is why they presented me with such nice easy presentations.

After moving to a new location I got out Marge, my 15 year old setter.  I was wondering how she would do this season as she has been off a little bit on our walks this summer but after 15 minutes on the trail she was off into the cover.  She did pretty well except for where she had to climb over downed logs.  I had chosen a trail that I thought would be 45 -60 minutes of walking.  We didn’t move any birds on the way out so on they way back I was daydreaming a bit when Marge’s beeper went off.  I could here her not too far off in some older growth so I wasn’t too optimistic and didn’t really hurry to her.  By the time I got close to her one grouse decided it has waited long enough and flushed off to safety.  As I congratulated Marge for the nice point another three more flushed off into the deeper cover.  Lesson relearned.  Always Trust Your Dog.

We ended up getting two birds for the day and moved a few more.  I think I only saw 1/3 the birds that I saw in the same area that I saw last season.  The cover is definitely still in full force whereas last season I think we saw the leaves drop two to three weeks early.  It was still nice to get out and test the woods.

MN Hunter Walking Trails - Ruffed Grouse

Minnesota's primary grouse range features a number of hunter walking trails that wind their way through Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), sometimes connecting with state forests and other public hunting lands.

These trails, most of them with signs, provide comparatively easy access to areas where small game such as grouse and woodcock may abound.
Many of the trails are gated, helping to prevent OHV access. Some have parking lots, while others simply have places to just pull off the road.
Enhancements on the trails vary. Some feature clover planted along the trail, others have forest openings that tend to attract wildlife and some are mowed annually. Many of the trails follow the courses of old logging roads.

Forests change over time as the succession of forest growth progresses. Because of this natural cycle, the forest along the trails and the wildlife that inhabit the area change with time.

Using the walking trail tool

Use the walking trail tool to locate hunter walking trails. Simply select a county from the list and click on the trail name. The map will automatically zoom and the trail will appear marked in red. Clicking the "PDF" link opens a new browser window that displays a printable, aerial view of the selected trail.
Trail maps are being updated continually and new maps are being added to the walking trail tool. Please check the tool regularly during the fall for new additions.

Google Earth file

Downloading this file and saving it to your computer allows you to view all the hunter walking trails using Free download of Google Earththe free Google Earth application This link opens a window to an external site.. If you don't have Google Earth installed, simply save the Google Earth installation file to your computer, run the installation progam, download the Hunter Walking Trail file and click "Open". All Minnesota's hunter walking trails will appear in the application, allowing you to zoom in and out at your leisure.

MN DNR Site

The Making Of A Champion Grouse Dog

Professional trainer, Dave Hughes and Long Gone Kennel owner Lloyd Murray discuss the bright future of two-year old Long Gone Buckwheat. Buckwheat already has a champion title.






Snakefoot
The Making of a Champion