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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: With the ruffled grouses
Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C
Soil quality is part of the problem in that part of the state. There is very little topsoil on many of the ridges, it was ripped away many thousands of years ago when glaciers pushed south to the Chesapeake Bay. That is why you'll find some of the best farming below the ridges, they were the recipients of the glaciated ridges.
With the poor soils, trees grow very slowly, maybe half the rate that can be found on good soils. Along with that there is less variety of habitat growing on the ridges. As forestry practice evolve, the foresters have new strategies for improving the forest. If you look around you'll find failed cuts that grew up predominately in birch, good for a couple years but useless for most wildlife after that. Timber practices now revolve around doing several cuts, years apart in one area as this helps to promote oaks and other trees that are able to compete when there is less than full sunlight on the forest floor. Cutting will also take place after there has been a good acorn drop. Fire is also being used extensively in areas to help remove leaf litter in the spring to help young sprouts grow, or later in summer when they can get a hotter fire the help kill of invasive species. Fire is excellent at killing off maple and birch, allowing more oaks to grow.
The other problem mentioned was the distance between good grouse habitat. However, we are entering the next major timber stage in the state, at least on public lands. Trees are maturing and ready to cut. As this happens you'll see cutting planned where different stages of growth will be juxstaposed allowing freer movement in and out of cover for feeding and protection. On glaciated ridges this will happen more slowly to make sure they dont lose food sources to far from cover.
That being said, before moving six years ago, I hunted extensively in 4C with good flush rates. I had the opportunity of hunting 4C in November, public land, and found some of the best grouse habitat that you'll find anywhere in the state; the grouse were there in excellent numbers.
Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.