Some great news came from Capitol Hill heading into the 2020 Fourth of July holiday weekend. On Wednesday, July 1, the House of Representatives voted to pass an infrastructure bill (H.R. 2) that had been amended to include the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). The Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society (RGS & AWS) has been working towards passage of RAWA legislation for nearly three years as a member of the Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, a broad coalition of organizations and businesses.[Read more…] about Recovering America’s Wildlife Act Update
Upper Great Lakes Ruffed Grouse Symposium
On February 25, 2020, Wisconsin hosted an Upper Midwest Ruffed Grouse Symposium. This event was geared towards professional wildlife biologists, foresters, and researchers managing ruffed grouse in the Upper Midwest.
In total, 120 professionals from eight different states attended the symposium. The day was well rounded with talks on current research, management efforts, and planning. Discussions also focused on learning about factors impacting ruffed grouse such as disease, policy, forest product market trends and climate.[Read more…] about RGS Supports Ruffed Grouse Symposium in Wisconsin Rapids – RGS
The Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) was introduced this week by Senators Manchin (D-WV), Portman (R-OH), Warner (D-VA), Gardner (R-CO), Daines (R-MT), Heinrich (D-NM) and 50 other bipartisan cosponsors. The bill integrates the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act (S. 1081 by Senators Manchin and Gardner) and the Restore Our Parks Act (S. 500 by Senators Portman and Warner), but with critical expansion to also address crumbling infrastructure on National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, and lands under the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education schools.
The legislation would provide full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), dedicating $900 million annually to a program that has helped conserve some of the most important lands in our nation for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation. More than a year ago, the Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society (RGS|AWS) celebrated Senate and House approval of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (S. 47), which was then signed into law to include permanent reauthorization of LWCF. LWCF authorization had expired despite a 50-year track record of successfully conserving habitat and expanding recreational access. Permanent authorization was a big victory. However, even with permanent reauthorization, Congress has previously redirected approximately $22 billion of funds intended for LWCF implementation to instead pay for unrelated budget items. RGS|AWS staff, along with a coalition of our conservation and forest industry partners, has previously worked to increase individual year appropriations for LWCF and secured its future with permanent reauthorization. Now let’s score another win and secure annual, dedicated funding for the program!
With widespread infrastructure problems in the form of crumbling roads, trails, blinds, piers, campsites, parking lots, and boat ramps across public lands where millions of Americans hunt, fish, hike, and camp, expansion of S. 500 to address a broader public land base is also a significant accomplishment. The Restore Our Parks Act originally addressed only National Parks Service lands, but input from the hunting community has seen our needs considered in the Great American Outdoors Act. Your voices can help ensure Congress continues to see the nearly $10 billion the Great American Outdoors Act would dedicate to infrastructure maintenance on public lands over the next five years as an investment in your future ability to recreate and support conservation and local communities through your visits to these lands.
What You Can Do Find your Senators here, and track the list of S. 3422 cosponsors here. If your Senators are supportive, thank them for committing to this bipartisan effort. If they’ve not yet sponsored the bill, ask them to do so. You can reference our letter of support here. Add your own personal stories of how you’ve been affected by failing infrastructure, and simply how much it means to you that Congress supports conservation, recreation, and continued access to these priceless public lands. Placing a call to your local office can be more effective than writing an email, but any effort may help. Be firm but polite, thank them for their time, and assure them that these are top priorities that you will continue to track and follow up on accordingly
Take a look at the successful creation of habitat and conservation in Minnesota forests with the Ruffed Grouse Society and American woodcock Society
If you’re reading this post in the great state of Minnesota, it’s likely that you may have spent time grouse hunting in Minnesota forests. And if it also feels like Minnesota has it pretty good when it comes to grouse habitat and populations, you wouldn’t be wrong. In part, that’s due to your continued support of Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society (RGS/AWS). Our staff are involved in several important conservation programs to increase and improve habitat across Minnesota – not just for grouse and woodcock, but many other wildlife species too.[Read more…] about Minnesota Forests | Success in Conservation and Habitat – RGS
Proposed Ohio ruffed grouse hunting season changes.
Following the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Wildlife Council meeting on January 16, 2020 the Ohio Division of Wildlife has recommended the following regulation changes for ruffed grouse:
Ruffed Grouse Season Length:
Public Land Oct 10-Nov 29 (Currently to Jan 31)
Private Land Oct 10-Jan 1 (Currently to Jan 31)
One bird bag limit (Currently two bird bag limit)
Ohio has seen a dramatic reduction of young forest age class on the landscape, however even in large scale state forest land where forest management has stabilized, grouse populations have not recovered.[Read more…] about Ohio DNR Proposes Changes to Ruffed Grouse Hunting Season – RGS
Emergency closure of the New Jersey grouse hunting season.
On July 17th the Fish and Game Council of New Jersey voted for an emergency closure of the ruffed grouse season in New Jersey. The Fish and Game Council is comprised of three farmer and six sportsmen representatives, as well as the Chairman of the Endangered and Nongame Species Council and a public representative at large. Their purview is to “adopt a Fish and Game Code for the purpose of providing a system for the protection and conservation of fish and game” in the state.
Essentially, they advise, suggest, and oversee the regulations dictating season lengths, restrictions, bag limits, zones, and other factors relating to recreational take of game through hunting and trapping. For hunters in New Jersey, the most obvious effect of these changes are highlighted notes in the new year’s Hunting and Trapping Digest. One of those highlighted changes will affect me directly as well as any other grouse hunters left in the state.[Read more…] about The Downfall of New Jersey Grouse Hunting – RGS
Up against an endangered listing, how can we help ruffed grouse in Indiana?
Ruffed grouse used to be present across the Indiana landscape, but now they could be joining the ranks of endangered species listed under the Indiana Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act. In October 2018, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Fish & Wildlife sought input from Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) to add ruffed grouse to the list of endangered species of birds in Indiana. After reviewing the evidence, biologists at RGS agreed with the proposal and submitted a petition to adopt the Administrative Rule Change. Here’s how this issue all started, how we could reverse its course, and how you could play an important part in that process.[Read more…] about Reversing Ruffed Grouse Declines in Indiana
A day in the grouse woods with a forestry professional.
Aldo Leopold wrote in Sand County Almanac that it’s best to just tag along behind a bird dog because it knows “grouseward better than you do.” This tends to be true, but a northern Wisconsin forester, especially one who hunts ruffed grouse with a passion, is a close second. That’s why when Bayfield county forester Mike Amman asked me to join him on a hunt, I immediately asked when and where.[Read more…] about Ruffed Grouse Hunting with a County Forester