Low Grouse Numbers True? - Page 2 - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 09:45 PM
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the last year and half my dad and seen less grouse around our camp in northern Potter county
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 09:46 PM
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My suggestion is everyone get a pheasant stamp and save the grouse for me. With almost 3 weeks vacation, including the whole week of Thanksgiving, my goal is to shoot the last 5 remaining grouse in Pa. Unless the hawks and owls beat me to them, then I'll settle for what is left.
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Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LostAgain View Post
My suggestion is everyone get a pheasant stamp and save the grouse for me. With almost 3 weeks vacation, including the whole week of Thanksgiving, my goal is to shoot the last 5 remaining grouse in Pa. Unless the hawks and owls beat me to them, then I'll settle for what is left.
too funny. i see grouse at my cabin, although i know they run in cycles. This year seems to be better than the last few, so i hope we are back on the upswing and that the west nile deal is behind us, i have to say that the skeeters are crazy bad down this way, and we need our precious bats back. That'll fix everything.
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 08:26 PM
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My Springer flushed 2 then 1 grouse on 2 different days in an area that I would call marginal grouse habitat. I have hiked this same area for 5 years and run my dog on it for 3 years and have only seen ONE grouse prior to this.
It's very little, but it is something.

Oh, it's in NW PA
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-18-2019, 07:49 AM
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Whatcha talking about Willis? Are you getting a jump on marijuana legalization?

Havent you seen the yearly grouse newsletter? Oops that's right, its not posted on the PGC website. But is says brood sightings are down 22% from last year, and this is a very low WNV year. It cant be grouse you're seeing, maybe extra big sparrows?

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

Jeff
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 10:54 AM
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Lost: I know that you are skeptical about the declines but I am seeing it first hand in the areas that I hunt. I would imagine the Northcentral area is holding on better than other parts of the State because it has better habitat. But the issue may be headed your way. The Game Commission is finally starting to do more logging and I hope that helps.

It is not just PA where the numbers are down. I have a camp in Vermont that I bought primarily for the grouse hunting. It used to be crawling with birds. I just spent 3 days hunting up there and did not find a single bird on my 130 acres. The forest has matured in the last 15 years that I have had it but there are still good thickets that should hold birds. I also hunted public lands with good cover. I averaged 1 grouse flush for every 2.5 hours of hunting (.4 per hour). Those numbers are dreadful compared to what it used to be.

I don't know what the problem is. I think there are a variety of factors that are hurting numbers. The easiest of these to control is habitat. I hope people get serious about managing forests in a way that benefits grouse.
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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 12:55 PM
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Iím in the woods nearly every day, hunting and trapping ,in four different counties. From the end of September till the close of beaver season on March 31st. Iíve seen 2 grouse since January 2018. One was on a state forest road in Clinton County, the other on a ridge top in Armstrong County. Here in Butler County itís probably been over 10 years since Iíve flushed , seen or heard a grouse.
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 03:41 PM
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You'll get no argument from me that grouse numbers are down, but why? Most have been willing to blindly follow our biologist into thinking its the mosquito and WNV that is the major problem and if that went away numbers would soar again. And if we closed the late season, numbers would rebound. And 99% of the hunters as well as GC personnel fell into that scam. Well guess what, WNV was at a 10 year low this year and brood numbers were well below last year, the highest WNV year recorded in Pa. So throw that theory out the window. Is WNV a small contributing factor, probably is. But here are bigger factors:

1. Were at 1/3 of ESH to where we should be and that will never be recovered......never. We might get up to 10%, but that us still far below the level of 17% where the GL forester said we should be.

2. The deer herds were left at unsustainable levels for far too many years, destroying the seed bank of the valuable shrub layer grouse need. That can never be replaced.

3. Deer levels are out of control again and destroying habitat and that low level shrub layer that grouse need for food and protection and our useless commissioners wont do anything about it as deer hunters are more valued that grouse hunters and bringing back grouse numbers.

4. Logging practices - years ago everyone went in and clearcut an area, that lead to a varied habitat growing from trees to the shrub layer. Now they are into shelterwood cuts to grow specific trees. Many trees are left standing to use their shade to suppress undesirable trees; undesirable to whom? Again it can also work to suppress that shrub layer.

5. In an effort to grow desired trees they will go in, pre and/or post harvest and spray off that shrub/food source. Grouse dont eat dirt, and dont feed on buds until the snow covers up the salads they prefer. I dont care how great the stem density is, if the ground us bare, there is no food, no shelter, and no grouse.

All the above the GC can control on their own property, and they can help control deer numbers on other public lands. And if you think deer arent a major problem, visit Clear Creek SF outside of Brockway where they are fencing in a majority of their cuts to see what is growing inside vs outside.

With all the above listed problems, and the GC keying soley on WNV, i dont expect to see a rebound in the 10-12 good years i have left to chase after grouse. In fact i wouldn't be surprised if we lose the December season in the next couple years. Plans are being made for Michigan next year and the coming years until i retire when I'll spend multiple weeks out of state. And i have enough covers in Pa to keep me happy until my legs finally tell me its time to quit.

Obviously my vocal opinion has reached up high in the GC as i was only given 1 blood stick last year, and unless something came in the last week(i only get to the PO once a week) i wont be getting and blood sticks or the newsletter this year.
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Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 03:42 PM
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Bird numbers have definitely been going down hill even up here in the North. I still find my share of birds but you honestly cant turn a blind eye to the numbers being down. I used to hit coveys of 5 to ten birds at a time in the early fall every now and then and I haven't hit a covey like that in a long time. Ive been running bird dogs in northern PA for almost twenty years now and started keeping logs a few years ago and my numbers were less than impressive last year compared to past years.
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 02:09 PM
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Having seen what happened to pheasant and quail in Pennsylvania, I am very concerned about grouse. I hope the Game Commission and the DCNR can get this sorted out. Instead of managing State forests as tree farms, I would hope that they would cut and create habitat regardless of profits.
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