Thursday, June 28, 2012

2012 Minnesota Grouse Counts Down

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) just released the 2012 Grouse Survey Report. For the most part, the news is bad, but not unexpected. In the areas of Minnesota known for the having prime grouse habitat, Northern and Northeastern Minnesota, the grouse numbers appeared to have decreased significantly. I say "appeared" because there are limitations to the survey as it attempts to measure the drumming associated with breeding and therefore is an indirect method of estimating total grouse numbers, but historically the survey has been a very good indicator of what we can expect in the upcoming season. 

The drop in numbers was not unexpected as historically the Minnesota grouse population follows an approximate 10 year cycle. Whereby, in a typical 10 year period the grouse population will fluctuate from the rock bottom of barely a bird out there to a population high where just about anyone can find a bird. Typically, after the population reaches the high point of the cycle the next few years the population drops back down to that rock bottom. Since the numbers from the last few years' surveys have indicated a cycle high-point in Minnesota, it is not surprising that the numbers are bad this year and probably will be for the next 3-5 years as well as the population bottoms out and slowly rebounds. 

This doesn't mean you won't find any birds, as there is always a few spots that the hard working hunter can find, but it might be time to sharpen your pheasant hunting skills a bit. 

The Report can be found here:

Other Sources

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