With the release of the 2014 Ruffed grouse drumming survey by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, grouse hunters are buzzing with a bit of extra excitement today! While the drumming survey is only an indicator and in no way guarantees bird numbers this fall, it is a historical study and it has closely tracked Minnesota’s cyclical grouse population for decades. Regardless, the results of this year’s study are significant and certainly indicate the possibility that were are now on the upswing with respect to overall bird numbers.
From DNR release:
“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.
You can find the full release here: http://news.dnr.state.mn.us/2014/06/30/ruffed-grouse-counts-see-increase-possibly-signaling-uptrend/
The news certainly has the Northwoods’R crew excited for the upcoming fall season. Personally we have been able to locate and maintain an arsenal of productive grouse coverts over the past few seasons. As for our hunting production and bird sightings, we have not seen a significant drop off, but that doesn’t make us any less excited about the possible upswing in bird numbers. The important thing is that a rising tide should float all boats, so this news is great for all Minnesota grouse hunters. We still believe brood survival has a huge impact on the number of birds people see in the fall so we are cautious in our expectations for fall 2014. A delayed/non-existent spring combined with plentiful rainfall could seriously influence brood survival this summer, only time will tell. That being said, the survey results are positive no doubt, and with two new pups joining the Northwoods’R family this summer, we are very much looking forward to the 2014 season!
P.S. Great news from the kennel one of the below pups is coming home with me in August. Also, as of this writing one of these males is still available, if anyone is interested please check out Northwoodsbirddogs.com