Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Going Down, but Not SO BAD!

The much anticipated drumming counts of Wisconsin's GROUSE PEAK were supposed to be reported this week, much to the dismay of hunters statewide, the best was last year. NOT to worry, after speaking with our DNR biologist last week, he left me with confidence that even with an AVERAGE brood survival this season, our hunting will be as good as last year. The brood survival of the past two seasons was terrible, in his words. so while were "going down", its still pretty darn good! LIFE IS GOOD.
Here's their "official release"

Annual survey indicates slight drop in Ruffed Grouse population
Weekly News Article Published: June 15, 2010 by the Central Office

Three out of four regions show decrease
MADISON – Wisconsin’s ruffed grouse population appears to have deviated from its four-year rise, according to data that state wildlife managers collected during the 2010 spring drumming counts.

“Statewide, the ruffed grouse population decreased about 5 percent between 2009 and 2010,” said Sharon Fandel, Acting Upland Wildlife Ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources.

“The southwest showed the greatest decrease in drumming activity over the last year with a 21 percent decrease,” Fandel said. “The central and northern regions showed a slight decrease of 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively, whereas the southeast region experienced a large increase of 60 percent more drums than in 2009. The southeast region contains the least amount of grouse cover in the state and minor increases in grouse drumming numbers can have a large influence on the drumming index.”

For reasons not well understood, grouse populations cycle up and down over an 8- to 10-year period. The previous high was in 1999, and it would appear that Wisconsin has reached the peak of the current grouse cycle. Biologists note that while the 5 percent statewide decrease from last year’s drumming survey results supports the idea that the ruffed grouse population may be on the downswing, the change is not statistically significant and may be due to random chance or smaller samples sizes representing a given area.

Ruffed grouse are one of Wisconsin’s most popular upland game birds. Their characteristic “drumming” noise is readily recognized and is produced by males during the spring breeding season. The male grouse will stand on drumming logs and rapidly beat their wings with the intention of attracting female grouse.

Ruffed grouse drumming surveys are divided into four regions around the state. Each spring since 1964, wildlife biologists, wardens, foresters, members of the Ruffed Grouse Society, and other volunteers have driven survey routes, stopping to listen at predetermined locations for the unmistakable sound of drumming ruffed grouse. These drumming counts and observational data on breeding success are used to estimate grouse population changes.

“Ruffed grouse drumming surveys are helpful in tracking statewide population changes over the long term,” says Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist. “However, they are not good predictors of local harvest or hunting opportunities. The most successful hunters are usually those who spend the most time in the field and cover the most ground.”

There are two ruffed grouse management zones (pdf) in the state. The hunting dates for Zone A are Sept. 18, 2010 through Jan. 31, 2011. The dates for Zone B are Oct. 16, 2010 through Dec. 8, 2010. Daily bag limits are 5 birds per day in Zone A and 2 birds per day in Zone B. Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit. Additional information can be found on the ruffed grouse page of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist (608) 264-8963 or Sharon Fandel, Acting Upland Wildlife Ecologist (6

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