Former RGS/AWS Regional Biologist Gary Zimmer has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Donald H. Rusch Memorial Award, in recognition of his strong advocacy and tireless efforts on behalf of wildlife in the state of Wisconsin. The award was presented to Gary at the Wisconsin Chapter of the Wildlife Society annual meeting in Rothschild, WI on March 2nd. Nominees are judged based on the significance of their contribution to wildlife conservation in Wisconsin, and must be strong supporter of the role of hunting in wildlife conservation. The award is named after the late Don Rusch, former UW-Madison faculty member who conducted some of the pioneering work on ruffed grouse in the upper Midwest. Congratulations, Gary!
Extreme cold and low/no snow are the worst conditions for ruffed grouse in winter. Many areas in the upper Midwest have had lower than normal snow amounts this year leading to poor snow roosting conditions for ruffed grouse. Grouse are very well adapted to heavy snowfall and will burrow or dive bomb into deep fluffy snow to help avoid detection by predators and conserve a surprising amount of heat. Research has shown that the temperature under a 6” deep snow pack stays around 32 degrees F and does not get below 20 degrees F regardless of the temperature above the snow. Approximately 25 degrees also happens to be the tipping point after which a grouse needs to start speeding up its metabolism and using extra energy to stay warm. Coincidence?[Read more…] about Significant Snow Levels Benefit Grouse in the Winter