Grouse priority area siting tool launches - Page 7 - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #61 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 09:30 AM
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LostAgain, that is a lot of real life facts. For many this west nile is being used as the total excuse, for less grouse. I believe that you push the better habitat issue, and as I blame a lot of it on predation , even I know, that if we had more and better habitat we would have more grouse. So while not enough is being done to improve the habitat, and predator control will not change, many are using west nile as a diversion. I like when you use the real life facts to back your arguments.
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post #62 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 10:46 AM
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[QUOTE=LostAgain;3701929]It doesn't matter any more, Pa used to be a premier grouse state in the NE, now it only ranks above Va and Ohio, and its only getting worse in Pa with no hope of any turn around in the near future.

Lost,
This is the first time a I have seen you admit that grouse are declining in PA.
Usually you are denigrating grouse hunters who have noticed this as not being willing to put boots on the ground and hunt till they are bloodied, essentially telling them they were not “man” enough to hunt grouse and not willing to put in the time.
Yes habitat is the key, yes we have more predators not only in terms of numbers but two new species.
There are still trappers out there taking fur, but no where near what there has been in the past.
As to current habitat, there is more habitat upstate and other areas then there had been in the past when I could see 30 or 40 grouse in a day. On another habitat topic, I would also find grouse in very marginal areas when grouse were plentiful.
The decline is caused by many factors and is progressing from south to north nationwide. In don’t have an answer to it.
I do know that criticizing the biologists is not an answer. They are trying to solve the problem.
I also know that other critters in the big woods are in decline, mice, squirrels, and other small mammals, bird species.
I have noticed a dramatic increase of robins in the big woods where they were not previously. Why?
ps I do appreciate all you do to introduce new hunters to this great pastime.
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post #63 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 11:13 AM
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Grouse are declining in some areas, and improving in other areas, all habitat related. Some of it is volume related, some of it is the type of habitat being cut and what is on the ground. A few years ago I saw an explosion in grouse numbers in my home covers, all related to cutting from gypsy moths, and those numbers dropped as fast as they went up as the habitat changed, not from aging out. Yet a few miles away with a different habitat structure, numbers are still as good as they have been in the past 5 years as new areas come into play, but most importantly the habitat structure is quite different. Public lands vs. private lands(GC cooperators). And yes, the grouse are there for those willing to work for them. My grouse hunting can be a couple miles from home or up to 2 hours in a northerly direction.

If our biologist would look at more than 1 possibility to grouse decline I wouldn't have to criticize so much. Even last year at the commissioners meeting she wouldn't tell them the results of some of her studies. She has a wealth of data she has been collecting over the past few years, but is not being made public, why? Shouldn't we be entitled to see the data she is collecting, and the methods used to collect it? What other GC biologists get to operate with this much secrecy? LW has an agenda she is driving, and wont deviate from it and wont show data that could be used to prove her wrong.

Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #64 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-05-2020, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by LostAgain View Post
He Jim, should I remind you of this little tidbit you mentioned about snowshoe hare?


Now, are you saying what goes for hares and habitat doesn't go for grouse? We had a study for grouse and late season hunting years ago, and it proved the same thing, hunting wasn't a limiting factor. Now we closed it completely with no way of measuring if late season hunting is having an affect on the grouse population. Using your theory, instead of adding a day to the snowshoe season, it should have been cut by 1/3.

I never knew Hares were impacted by WNV. I do know the grouse are impacted by WNV. Maybe if WNV hits hares they will close the season. The Nile is a river in Africa Get over it. Waugh!

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post #65 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 10:02 AM
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I will also say though that as for the grouse management program I suspect that program is going to be seeing a lot more attention and money thrown their way in the future. Probably for long into the future as a matter of fact.



Dick Bodenhorn
Tell them to save their money, it's to late by far. The time they could have done something that would have made a difference is long past. Had they cut the acreage as laid out in the Grouse Management Plan over the last 20-25 years on the schedule in the plan there might have been the habitat needed, when it mattered, to keep a self sustaining grouse population. As it is now with all that habitat in a matured state and what's left of the remaining ESH badly fragmented there really is no way for any remaining birds to re-establish their population. Grouse aren't like stocked pheasants. You can't just plant some high grass and throw them off the back of a truck to establish a population to hunt.
No, Pennsylvania is done as a ruffed grouse state. Poor management and misguided priorities have ruined what was once a wonderful, natural, and native, wildlife resource of the state. Evidently these managers are more adept at managing pen raised pheasants than truly wild game birds. Perhaps Pennsylvania should adopt the stocked pheasant as the new state bird. To me it appears unseemly for them to keep a noble bird like the ruffed grouse as their state bird in view of how it was mishandled.

Pa has about 17 million acres of forest land. The PGC owns about 1.5 million acres of land and it is not all forest land. Even if they cut every acre of forest on game lands it would be a drop in the bucket and have very little effect on the grouse population state wide. To increase (restore) grouse populations state wide it must be a joint effort on both private and public lands.
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post #66 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 10:56 AM
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[QUOTE=R. S.


I know you grouse hunters think your special interests are all that matter and should always take priority over everyone else's interests. But, the reality is that for a long time grouse were doing just fine and didn't need a lot of special attention to be not only a sustainable but often even a thriving resource.



Dick Bodenhorn[/QUOTE]


What special interest are you referring to?
That we want proper habitat management that benefits grouse and pretty much all the other native game species in the state.
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post #67 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 05:22 PM
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[QUOTE=Wildbirds;3703059]
Quote:
Originally Posted by R. S.


I know you grouse hunters think your special interests are all that matter and should always take priority over everyone else's interests. But, the reality is that for a long time grouse were doing just fine and didn't need a lot of special attention to be not only a sustainable but often even a thriving resource.



Dick Bodenhorn[/QUOTE


What special interest are you referring to?
That we want proper habitat management that benefits grouse and pretty much all the other native game species in the state.
I wondered the same thing. A thriving population of native game species is not a special interest. Things like the pheasant and elk programs that interfere with our native habitat by promoting non- native invasive species sound more like special interests to me.
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post #68 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 10:18 PM
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Pa has about 17 million acres of forest land. The PGC owns about 1.5 million acres of land and it is not all forest land. Even if they cut every acre of forest on game lands it would be a drop in the bucket and have very little effect on the grouse population state wide. To increase (restore) grouse populations state wide it must be a joint effort on both private and public lands.
Doing my tongue in cheek math, 1.5 / 17 million acres equates to ~9% of all forested land. Hardly a drop in the bucket. I think that would be a very good start at creating ESH. Fire up those chain saws.

What are the options for the PGC as it relates to land that they control? Should they continue (or hopefully expand) their efforts to create ESH on SGL because that is all they can control, or just throw up their hands and say whats the use of having grouse on SGL when much of the rest of state doesn't have the habitat to support them.
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post #69 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 11:42 PM
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What special interest are you referring to?
That we want proper habitat management that benefits grouse and pretty much all the other native game species in the state.
In my opinion special interest hunters are just that. It is pretty common knowledge that some hunters put almost all of their hunting efforts into only hunting one or two species while looking down their nose at anyone who hunts other species they believe to be an inferior species.

Some of use prefer to not only hunt pretty much all of the species we are permitted to hunt but to also see all of the species managed for.

But, when you have limited resources you also have to look both the ability of the species to have sustainable hunting populations, with or without excessive manipulation as well as sometimes the amount of hunter interest and participation for that species.

Grouse have been an important species to a pretty fair number of hunters but for many decades their numbers remained relatedly stable with mostly just commercial timber operations across the state. I am confident had anyone in the Game Commission foreseen how much their populations were going to decline over the past few years they would have increased their management objectives in at least an effort to help offset the decline we have experienced.

Personally I like to hunt grouse but I am not such a purist that I would take all of the money and manpower away from the management of other important hunting species just to create more habitat that might or might not make really make any difference in the future for grouse and grouse hunters.

And that includes species such as pheasant and elk that some people have no interest in because they aren't one of their special interest species. For others in this Commonwealth more money and resources should be dedicated to the future for those species the same as a few think more should be going to grouse, or woodcock or deer or any number of other species they prefer.

It has to be a carefully orchestrated balancing act and one that takes into account the implementation for the wise management of ALL species.

Dick Bodenhorn
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post #70 of 88 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 12:46 AM
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Wait, someone that arguably hunts pheasants more days than anyone here is calling out others as special interest hunters? Really? And what the heck does that even mean? Made up nonsense. Maybe one of the dumber comments I've read.
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