“I have read many definitions of what is a conservationist, and written not a few myself, but I suspect that the best one is written not with a pen, but with an axe. It is a matter of what a man thinks about while chopping, or while deciding what to chop. A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke he is writing his signature on the face of his land.”[Read more…] about PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: What are “Healthy Forests”?
When I hunt grouse and woodcock next fall, I want to better clear my mind of all things occupying my thoughts . . . I want to stay focused on what I’m doing . . . I want to stay focused on hunting, and when I do, I pick up little cues from the surrounding habitat, I pay closer attention to the dog work, I react to flushes better and shoot straighter, and I’m quite sure you’ve made a similar observation. Staying focused helps us enjoy all the hunt has to offer and gives us a much more fulfilling and satisfying hunting experience regardless of whether we bring back any birds at the end of the day.[Read more…] about PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – Stay Focused on Habitat
By Meadow Kouffeld, RGS & AWS Regional Wildlife Biologist
Despite the current negative state and federal climate toward public land holding, RGS and partners are working with government agencies to reverse this trend.
Coming from the West, I appreciate public land. The nature of our western big game requires that large tracts of land are available to support populations substantial enough for hunters to pursue. Huntable numbers of mule deer, blacktails, bighorn sheep, moose, caribou, mountain goats and elk don’t occupy 40-acre stands of trees in seas of corn. Very few people have the financial wherewithal to own thousands of western acres, however America’s greatness comes from our ability to enjoy the great outdoors, hunting and fishing notwithstanding personal wealth.[Read more…] about PUBLIC LANDS, ACCESS & THINKING LONG TERM
THEY SAID IT! . . . Best Quotes from the Spring RGS Magazine
By Matt Soberg
Are you an upland hunter? Bird dog owner? Shotgun lover?
Have you become afflicted by the grouse and woodcock hunting addiction? Do you care about the future of our sporting traditions?
If you answer “yes” to any of the above, the Ruffed Grouse Society magazine is a must see – a one stop shop for everything grouse and woodcock hunting and forest habitat conservation – hunting tips, bird dog info, gun reviews, book reviews, cooking recipes, classic hunting stories, habitat management information . . . the list goes on and on.[Read more…] about THEY SAID IT! . . . Best Quotes from the Spring RGS Magazine
CONNECTING THE DOTS . . . From Habitat to Hunting
By Matt Soberg, RGS & AWS Editor & Director of Communications
This is what it’s like to watch a spring drummer connect the dots from habitat to hunting . . .
I lifted my Kromer above my left ear thinking I had heard a faint rustle of leaves down the hill from my strategically placed location. I set my Thermos cup of coffee onto the ground’s newly-green, late-April shoots and leaned my head forward toward one of the opened blind windows for a better vantage point. Sure enough, my ears were right . . . the pitter-patter of small feet traipsing across the forest floor was getting closer . . . and louder . . . and closer.[Read more…] about What is it like to watch a drummer?
Today, the Ruffed Grouse Society brought together agency professionals from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois to focus on landscape-scale goals to enhance future young forest habitat in the Driftless Region.
Today (August 16, 2016) the Ruffed Grouse Society launched the Driftless Young Forest Symposium in La Crosse, Wisconsin to bring together agency professionals from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois to focus on landscape-scale goals to enhance young forest habitat in the Driftless Region. Symposium goals include providing a clear understanding of the area forest use trends and wildlife impacts, to recognize challenges of forest management in this region and to identify and embrace opportunities for potential landscape-scale benefits to young forest habitat in the future.[Read more…] about Driftless Young Forest Symposium
Earlier this spring, the Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society determined at a strategic planning meeting that public resistance to scientifically sound habitat management practices was one of the top three significant and long-term impediments to the future of healthy forest habitat benefiting not only ruffed grouse and American woodcock but a wide array of forest wildlife.[Read more…] about RGS Responds to Anti-Forest Management Message
A GROUSE HUNTER’S ALMANAC
The Other Kind of Hunting
By Mark Parman
Published 2010 – University of Wisconsin Press
Mark Parman has been a longtime contributor of classic grouse and woodcock hunting stories to the Ruffed Grouse Society magazine. A favorite Parman articles is “What He Carried”, which was published in the fall 2013 issue and features an introspective story about the possessions and superstitions that make grouse and woodcock hunters a unique group. The story starts with, “Each possession (of a grouse hunter) brings with it reminders of special days gone by.” If you are a grouse hunter, you understand this inexplicable phenomenon. The story talks about the symbols of grouse hunting that captivate us all throughout the year. He writes, “In late winter, he notes a grouse feather floating across the wood floor of his living room or kitchen, escapees from his gamebag, or he finds one stuck to the wet nose of his dog. He doesn’t mind the feathers. He picks one up, twirls the rachis in his fingers and is carried back to October.” Has this happened to any of you during bitter cold January? I suspect it has.[Read more…] about Book Review – A Grouse Hunter’s Almanac
**Excerpt from A Grouse in the Hand, Tips for Examining, Aging & Sexing Ruffed Grouse published 2014 by RGS and authored by S. DeStefano, R.L. Ruff and S.R. Craven.
Many species of wildlife show various color phases. “Red” foxes can be red, black or crossed. “Black” bears can be black, brown or blond. And, screech owls are red or gray. Ruffed grouse are rare among birds in that they can exhibit so much color variation. This color variation is genetically controlled and unlike most other birds it is independent of sex.[Read more…] about Grouse Color Phases – What You Need To Know
Off-season scouting can lead to important clues and fall success in the grouse woods, and NOW is the time to go!
Watching a male ruffed grouse drum his spring beat from less than 20 yards away is quite the surreal experience, especially considering we barely see a glimpse of them post flush in the fall as they dodge young trees toward their escape route.[Read more…] about Scout Spring Drummers & Find Fall Covers