Ruffed grouse broods seen per observer-hour were down about 2 percent from last year across the Northern Region of Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Statewide, ruffed grouse broods were down 10 percent compared to 2013, and brood size rose from 3.8 to 4.0 young per brood.
“While some areas of the primary ruffed grouse range will be better than others, it appears that ruffed grouse numbers will be no better than last year and well below their cyclic high experienced a few years ago,” said Scott Walter, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. “We anticipated a continued population decline as grouse progress through their nine- to 11-year population cycle, so these numbers are not unexpected. The grouse population should reach its cyclic low within the next couple of years before beginning its climb back to the top.”
Turkey broods were up 12 percent in the northern region, DNR officials said. The statewide turkey observation rate was 22 percent above the long-term average. The average brood-size documented in 2014 was 4.5 young per brood, up from 4.2 in 2013.