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 Brent A. Rudolph, Ph.D., RGS & AWS Director of Conservation Policy
RGS and AWS are among the most passionate organizations defending the overall benefits of public lands, but we are one of the few voices working to raise awareness and prompt action regarding the poor conservation performance on federal properties with respect to providing young forest habitat.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine
Approximately 1,459,940 comments were received in response to the “Review of Certain National Monuments Established Since 1996” (regulations.gov). You may know this better as “The Bears Ears Brouhaha,” though there’s a chance that only I call it that.
The referenced review is being conducted by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in response to an Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump in April. The review will assess designations of 27 national monuments established since 1996. Other than Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (Katahdin Woods) in Maine (see picture above), all monuments to be reviewed are located in western states or are marine national monuments.[Read more…] about Okay, so it’s public . . . Now what?
The thought of losing the little things we love about grouse and woodcock hunting reveals truly what’s at stake for the future of our sporting traditions if we don’t strive to create healthy forests now.
On a Friday evening this past February, I rounded into the entryway of my home and spied my blaze hunting vest hanging on the wall in the same place I had it after every hunt since September. I stood there for a moment while numerous memories from October and November flooded through my mind and honestly felt sad knowing the season was over. That unfortunate and inevitable time had come to put it away until next year.[Read more…] about THE LITTLE THINGS – EDITOR NOTE
I grouse hunt because it’s in my DNA. Surprisingly, it doesn’t have to be passed down through genetics. Take a stroll through the grouse woods and you might find it quickly imprinted in yours.
The story of grouse hunting for me starts somewhere in the Deep South . . . in a part of Georgia, oddly enough, where there are no grouse. I’m still a third generation bird hunter – Every winter from December to the middle of January, we hunt the bird every grouse hunter knows: woodcock.
At a young age I was always with the bird dogs in the kennels until I was old enough to go and watch, then shoot. Prior to grouse hunting, I had hunted quail, chukar, pheasant and woodcock. Most of my hunting was with my dad, so grouse was the only bird he had hunted that I hadn’t. He made his first trip to grouse country a couple years before I did. The bird dogs are my world, and when I found another game bird to hunt, I wanted to burst with excitement.[Read more…] about WHY WE HUNT, Member Payton Gunby
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
RGS chapters are striving to ensure national forests are properly managed in the Southern Appalachian Region to preserve our grouse hunting traditions for future generations.
The famed conservationist Aldo Leopold once said, “We shall never achieve harmony with the land, anymore than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.” The word “strive”, being the operative, is exactly what RGS chapter volunteers are doing in North Carolina and Georgia to ensure our public lands, namely national forests, are being properly managed for wildlife.[Read more…] about 2016 RGS GROUSE CAMP TOUR – North Carolina & Georgia
Grouse/woodcock hunters are speaking for the wildlife that cannot speak for themselves – influencing forest management on public lands.
Only partially down the Tennessee mountain trail, Parker Street, of the Appalachian Highlands RGS Chapter, pointed to some Rhododendron sandwiched between clear old growth and a more recently managed mountainside. “Right here . . . there ought to be a bird in here, boys,” he urged.[Read more…] about 2016 GROUSE CAMP TOUR – Virginia/Tennessee
RGS 2016 GROUSE CAMP TOUR – Monterey, Virginia
The Birthplace of the Ruffed Grouse Society
Walking down the short main street of Monterey, Virginia, a small mountain town in the northwestern part of the state, it would be difficult to assume that North America’s leading forest wildlife conservation organization was started there way back in 1961, but it was . . . welcome to the birthplace of the Ruffed Grouse Society.[Read more…] about 2016 RGS GROUSE CAMP TOUR – Monterey, Virginia
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