October 16, 2017
For Immediate Release
Ruffed Grouse Society Reports 2017 National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt Results
Coraopolis, PA – The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) held its 36th annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt (NGWH) on October 12 and 13, 2017 in and around Grand Rapids, Minnesota with harvest results, obtained by RGS wildlife biologists, showing decreases in ruffed grouse and American woodcock harvests compared to 2016.
Participating hunters (108) harvested 124 ruffed grouse during the two-day hunt (62 grouse on day 1 and 62 grouse on day 2), which is a 30 percent decrease from the 2016 harvest of 175 ruffed grouse and a 50 percent decrease from the average harvest. Each hunter harvested an average of 0.5 grouse per day in 2017, which is low compared to the average of 1.4. The recruitment ratio was 3.33 with 45 percent of harvested birds being adults, 55 percent being juveniles, 60 percent males and 40 percent females. The color phase breakdown was 9.6 percent gray, 20 percent intermediate, 11 percent brown, 44 percent red and 14 percent split. Dry weather and strong south winds provided difficult scenting conditions for hunters with bird dogs.
Participating hunters harvested 333 American woodcock, which is a 14 percent decrease over the 2016 harvest of 384 American woodcock. Each hunter harvested an average of 1.54 woodcock per day in 2017 compared to 1.9 in 2016, and this is a 26 percent decrease from the average of 2.1 woodcock harvested per day. The recruitment ratio was 0.5125 with 42 percent of harvested woodcock being males, 58 percent females, 75 percent adults and 25 percent juveniles.
“Not only has the RGS National Hunt been an important celebration of grouse and woodcock hunting for over 35 years, but it provides an unparalleled opportunity to study the population ecology of ruffed grouse and American woodcock,” said RGS President and CEO John Eichinger. “Each year, the data collected gives us a chance to better understand these two important game birds. The information accumulated throughout the history of this event represents one of the longest, continuous efforts for collecting scientific data of a target species within a specific region.”
The late Gordon W. Gullion, universally acknowledged as the world’s expert on ruffed grouse, immediately recognized the scientific potential of the NGWH when the event was first held in 1982. Gullion understood that because it is conducted in the same locale, at the same time each year and using the same methods, it provides an outstanding opportunity to study the annual variation of the local ruffed grouse population and how that variation relates to the 10-year cycle.
The NGWH is conducted in the Grand Rapids area during the second week in October each year. This world-class event is sponsored and coordinated by the Grand Rapids Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society whose volunteers contribute literally thousands of hours of their time to make the event happen.
For over 35 years, the NGWH has provided invaluable insight into the ecology of these two premier game birds. RGS will continue to ask questions and, hopefully, find answers through the NGWH that will help secure the future for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and the sportsmen and women who hold them so dear.
Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society is North America’s foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS/AWS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices.
Information on RGS/AWS, its mission, management projects and membership can be found on the web at: www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.