The ruffed grouse harvest was down 14 percent from last year at the 2012 National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt, held Oct. 11-12 in the Grand Rapids area. The hunt usually draws about 100 hunters, and this year’s harvest was 184 birds, down from 213 last year.
“That’s less than what might have been expected given the drumming survey results from this spring and where we are in the 10-year cycle,” said Dan Dessecker, biologist for the Ruffed Grouse Society, which sponsors the hunt.
This was the 31st year for the hunt.
Ruffed grouse populations in Minnesota and Wisconsin rise and fall on a 10-year cycle, and the population is on its downward trend.
The ratio of immature grouse to adult females was 7.2 to 1, about 15 percent above the long-term average, indicating a fairly successful hatch this past spring.
The woodcock harvest was 415, up from 381 last fall. The total was the largest number of woodcock harvested since the daily bag limit was reduced from five birds to three birds in 1997, Dessecker said. The immature/adult female ratio was 0.86, 26 percent below the long-term average.
Ted Dick, grouse coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Grand Rapids, said his flush rates were 3.5 grouse per hour and three woodcock per hour.