More bad news for PA grouse - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-15-2016, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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More bad news for PA grouse

Outdoors notebook: More bad news for ruffed grouse, bird hunters
Bob Frye BY BOB FRYE
Sunday, July 24, 2016, 9:09 p.m.
The numbers are not encouraging. Worse yet, another downturn may be on the way.

Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Lisa Williams asked hunters who harvested a grouse last fall to send her a blood samples from it for examination. The idea was to see how many birds had been exposed to West Nile virus and survived.

She recently said 26 birds, or 13 percent of those sampled, fell into that category, she said.

That doesn't sound too bad, she said, until you consider that West Nile kills in summer, and some research suggests 80 percent of grouse that contract it die. That means for every 26 survivors, more than 100 other birds were dead long before hunters ever hit the woods, she added.

There's potentially worse news.

Williams said that even with spotty surveillance, West Nile was confirmed in about 57 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties last year. Historically, she added, such outbreaks persist over several years.

That could be bad.

Williams said there seems to be a connection between the mosquito-borne illness and declines in grouse numbers. In years when West Nile is abundant, grouse numbers go down, but in years it's scarce, grouse numbers go up. The trend is “almost a perfect mirror image,” she said.

Grouse populations had been on a an upswing in recent years, she said. Increased West Nile could change that.

“That makes me quite concerned about what's going to happen with our modest recovery,” Williams said.

If there's any good news, it's that grouse populations appear able to withstand illness if there's enough good habitat spread over a wide expanse, Williams said.

“Where we have excellent habitat for grouse. They can outproduce the disease,” she said.

That offers some hope, said Bryan Burhans, deputy director of administration for the commission.

“That's got me thinking our best defense might be a good offense, making better habitat,” he said.

In the meantime, the commission may also have to scale back grouse seasons, Williams said. Hunters harvest about 35,000 to 40,000 birds annually. That has never been a big factor in overall populations, Williams said.

But with grouse struggling, she's “going to be looking very seriously” at whether seasons might have to be shortened. The post-Christmas season — though popular with hunters — “would be the logical target,” Williams said.

The commission will seek input from sportsmen before making any changes, however.

In an age of universal lies, speaking the truth is a revolutionary act - George Orwell
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 09:01 PM
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Outdoors notebook: More bad news for ruffed grouse, bird hunters
Bob Frye BY BOB FRYE
Sunday, July 24, 2016, 9:09 p.m.
The numbers are not encouraging. Worse yet, another downturn may be on the way.

Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist Lisa Williams asked hunters who harvested a grouse last fall to send her a blood samples from it for examination. The idea was to see how many birds had been exposed to West Nile virus and survived.

She recently said 26 birds, or 13 percent of those sampled, fell into that category, she said.

That doesn't sound too bad, she said, until you consider that West Nile kills in summer, and some research suggests 80 percent of grouse that contract it die. That means for every 26 survivors, more than 100 other birds were dead long before hunters ever hit the woods, she added.

There's potentially worse news.

Williams said that even with spotty surveillance, West Nile was confirmed in about 57 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties last year. Historically, she added, such outbreaks persist over several years.

That could be bad.

Williams said there seems to be a connection between the mosquito-borne illness and declines in grouse numbers. In years when West Nile is abundant, grouse numbers go down, but in years it's scarce, grouse numbers go up. The trend is “almost a perfect mirror image,” she said.

Grouse populations had been on a an upswing in recent years, she said. Increased West Nile could change that.

“That makes me quite concerned about what's going to happen with our modest recovery,” Williams said.

If there's any good news, it's that grouse populations appear able to withstand illness if there's enough good habitat spread over a wide expanse, Williams said.

“Where we have excellent habitat for grouse. They can outproduce the disease,” she said.

That offers some hope, said Bryan Burhans, deputy director of administration for the commission.

“That's got me thinking our best defense might be a good offense, making better habitat,” he said.

In the meantime, the commission may also have to scale back grouse seasons, Williams said. Hunters harvest about 35,000 to 40,000 birds annually. That has never been a big factor in overall populations, Williams said.

But with grouse struggling, she's “going to be looking very seriously” at whether seasons might have to be shortened. The post-Christmas season — though popular with hunters — “would be the logical target,” Williams said.

The commission will seek input from sportsmen before making any changes, however.
Hunters have to show concern and stop killing grouse..Ist week of grouse is major killing of grouse with great dogs I am seeing..The young grouse just cannot fly well then very easy to limit out on grouse then..
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-31-2017, 09:13 PM
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I posted some in on this on another page. Have a friend that transported eggs from PGC lab in Harrisburg to Kansas City 2 years ago for this testing. Some hatched out positive. I think PGC on best inters should close grouse season entirely. After all it is the state bird, hope some funding can come in to do more research , etc.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by outofstater View Post
I posted some in on this on another page. Have a friend that transported eggs from PGC lab in Harrisburg to Kansas City 2 years ago for this testing. Some hatched out positive. I think PGC on best inters should close grouse season entirely. After all it is the state bird, hope some funding can come in to do more research , etc.
For those stumbling across this post. The information Outofstater provided above is false. None of the birds "Hatched" positive. They did not have West Nile Virus until they were intentionally injected with the virus. And while his statement that "I think PGC should close grouse season entirely" may be true it is only his thinking and in no way would do anything at all to increase the grouse population in Pennsylvania. The drop in population had absolutely nothing to do with the birds being killed by hunters.
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Last edited by dap; 01-08-2018 at 12:36 PM.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-06-2018, 08:48 PM
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How do we know they didnt have antibodies in them when they hatched out, they were never tested? Our inept biologist was only interested in doing kiddie experiments searching for a known answer she could latch onto.

A properly done experiment would have been to capture the hen, draw blood and she if she was carrying WNV antibodies. Any chicks that hatched from WNV positive hens should have then been tested to see if she was passing the antibodies down to the chicks. The chicks should have been exposed to WNV at different ages to see at what age they became resistant to WNV and also to see if any chicks with WNV antibodies became resistant at different ages.

Experiments are not done to search for known answers, they are done to search for unknown answers. Is there anyone here who didnt think the chicks once infected would die from WNV?

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

Jeff
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