“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”?
By Brent A. Rudolph, Ph.D., RGS & AWS Director of Conservation Policy
A number of provisions favorable to hunters and healthy forests await the President’s signature later today…
On December 1, we released a National Update, asking our supporters to ask Congress for a budgetary fix to help the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) deal with out of control annual fire suppression costs. On January 12, we followed up right here on the RGS/AWS blog, identifying a number of provisions that could address the “fire borrowing” problem, including passing the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA), H.R. 2862 and S. 1842.[Read more…] about C’mon President Trump . . . #FixOurForest
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
The Do’s and Don’ts of Helping Your Grouse Dog Combat the Cold
Although the 2017 ruffed grouse season is winding down, it’s important to stay vigilant about keeping your hunting dog safe in chilly conditions. Cold weather can be harmful for a dog. It can affect his or her immune system, making the dog prone to disease and injury. By following these tips, you can help reduce disease and the risks of hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature, and frostbite, the freezing of tissues caused by exposure to very low temperatures.
DO Know Your Dog’s Limit
Pay attention to your dog’s tolerance of cold weather. Keep a close eye on puppies and senior dogs, as they cannot withstand wintry weather as well as a dog in his or her prime. A good rule of thumb for limiting outdoor exercise during winter is that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog.[Read more…] about The Do’s and Don’ts of Helping Your Grouse Dog Combat the Cold
NEW YORK & NEW ENGLAND
2017 GROUSE CAMP TOUR
October 21 – 29
“There is an old New England saying to the effect that if you give a man a shotgun, a bird dog and a violin, he won’t amount to a damn.”
~William Harnden Foster ~
Join the Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society for the third Grouse Camp Tour, where we celebrate habitat, membership, volunteers and the grouse/woodcock hunting experience. This year’s Tour will be throughout the New York and New England region: New York Grouse & Woodcock Benefit Hunt – Malone, NY, Vermont, Western Massachusetts and Southern Maine.[Read more…] about GROUSE CAMP TOUR STARTS TODAY!
“To those devoid of imagination, a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” ~ Aldo Leopold
I’ve always believed that hunting should be difficult. The act of killing, whether avian or ungulate, carries with it a weight of responsibility that should not be forgotten too quickly. In the Southern Appalachians, the mountains in which I wander, the hunting of the ruffed grouse is, at the very best of times, an exercise in patience and effort.
Each year, my home state of North Carolina collects data from participating hunters and publishes the North Carolina Avid Grouse Hunter Survey. After a peak around 1990, the likelihood of success in our southern mountains has declined in a dramatic way. The odds weren’t good 25 years ago, and even a masochist like myself would have found past numbers sufficiently challenging.[Read more…] about WHY WE HUNT: Member Christian Fichtel, North Carolina
A focus on simple gateways to grouse hunting can recruit our next generation of hunters.
By Matt Soberg, RGS/AWS Editor & Director of Communications
We always hear about perceived barriers to entry purportedly inherent in grouse and woodcock hunting. “There are no birds around, and it’s hard to find them. The cover is so thick, too hard and strenuous. When you do find birds, the shots are impossible. Guns are intimidating, and I don’t know how to train a bird dog.” Blah, blah, blah.
Grouse hunting is not that scary. Trust me.[Read more…] about GROUSE AND WOODCOCK HUNTING GATEWAYS
” . . . it is disturbing to me that there are so few grouse left in the woods here. I often wonder if I will be the last person to walk some of the coverts I hunt. I wonder how many before me have had the same thought? I take hope in the fact that there are still a few folks with dogs fighting the laurel and would like to see more of those people in the future.”
I was asked by a friend a few weeks ago if I enjoyed failure. This was shortly after I recounted the highlights of last year’s West Virginia grouse season. I laughed it off at the time, but it does make me wonder, after a season of several hundred miles of walking and no birds taken . . . was it worth it? My answer now and I hope always is: absolutely. The reason I hunt grouse has nothing to do with birds in hand. I hunt grouse because I’m an adrenaline junkie. I have yet to find a sensation that can match the electric moment just before a flush. The moment when dog, man and bird are all awaiting the same release.[Read more…] about WHY WE HUNT, Member Drew Phipps
” . . . and part of the reason I hunt is because I love the bonds that this sport creates. The bond between a man or woman and a dog, the bond between fellow hunters, and the bond between the hunter and the hunted. Being able to share a hobby and passion with the ones I love means everything to me.” RGS Member Morgan Wolfe
I remember the first grouse flush I ever saw. It was in a New Hampshire cover we call “Spilled Milk”. The dairy farmer who owned the land passed away a long time ago, but before he did he left an old milk can down by the river. It’s on its side as if it spilled the milk, and it’s near a tremendous amount of Japanese knotweed. We find woodcock are in there, but further up where the feeder stream joins the river are some old apple trees. We always work the cover counter-clockwise beginning with the knotweed and woodcock and closing out with the apples and grouse.[Read more…] about WHY WE HUNT, Member Morgan Wolfe