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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
Looks like TD is trying to finish up the leftover egg nog before it expires.馃
 

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Those recovery areas would only be closed to human activity. Predators would still be allowed to interact with the stocked rabbits in the recovery area. I am sure that most predators would like rabbit recovery areas, they sure liked those pheasant recovery areas. When you want to build a population you knock back the predators first. I watched a show out west of here, where before the sheep have their young, they hire a crew in a helicopter to remove as many coyotes and I believe bobcats, to help with survival of the young sheep. Costs money but these farmers care about their animals. Did look like fun controlling coyotes, from a helicopter, with a shotgun. As for Elmer Fudd, he never killed a rabbit.
 

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There are more deer now than when HR was started years ago
Assuming that's your thoughts as they relate only to the locales you hunt ? Also guessing north of 80 ? That is not the case in Washington County. And as I can't speak for all of SW PA, my suspicion is that the rest of SW region is the same ? Exceedingly and consistently high antlerless allocations have done their job down here. Of course, the Southwest region is like shooting fish in a barrel compared to the northern regions. So it stands to reason, if you add all the opportunity, the harvest will bear it out..

And I know you can't find a grouse anywhere down here now, save for mountain ridges in SW PA, and even that is spotty. But I'm here to tell you, 3 and 4 decades ago, Greene and Western Washington Counties, had about the best grouse hunting in the state.

And... don't know what that all mean or how it applies...... but just sayin'. :confused:
 

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This is what concerns me. Grouse disappeared around Butler about 20 years ago. Once common, I don鈥檛 think there鈥檚 a grouse remaining in the township I live in. Even if the food and cover were dramatically improved, it would probably take a long time for grouse to repopulate.
Where would they repopulate from? Generally young grouse travel only 4.5 miles or less when they leave their home range looking for a new one. That's one of the reasons it's critical to maintain some semblance of contiguous ESH.
 

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I don't know... We've got a big place in Greene County, in antler restriction zone. Tons of deer, turkeys, coyotes, bobcats, etc. Can't say I've noticed much decline in deer numbers in the 30 years I've kicked around there besides the typical fluctuations. I don't deer hunt much anymore, maybe a day or two a year, but my dad shot a heck of a 10 point this year. See big flocks of turkeys regularly when I'm out & about, and plenty of deer. Had been farmed into the '80s, sheep & cattle. Turned into excellent dense cover, and even as a foot hunting teenager, I'd usually kick up 4 or 5 grouse without much effort. The forest has matured; the deer have grazed down the understory pretty good. We're talking to a forester, hoping to do some clear cuts now that the market's there. Not sure it will be enough to help the grouse. We'll see. My dad hunts it more, might see a grouse or two in a year in the drive, and he once found a woodcock nest with 4 eggs. Will do some cutting near a beaverdam area on a little creek, maybe it will draw in some woodcock & maybe help the grouse if we've got a couple stragglers left. Hope springs eternal! We let a kid trap on it, he got a big bobcat & a coyote this season along w/ the typical little stuff.
 

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Where would they repopulate from? Generally young grouse travel only 4.5 miles or less when they leave their home range looking for a new one. That's one of the reasons it's critical to maintain some semblance of contiguous ESH.
Yep, that's the challenge. That's why we've gotta do what we can before the birds disappear... and why I'm really bullish on NC PA, I see a lot of log trucks coming off of SF land where we have birds... Love seeing a fresh cut beside a 10-15 year old cut.
 

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Grouse have been in decline annually through out those years. You kind of made my point. Foolhardy? There's only one state agency responsible to manage game species, should we blame penndot then? In my lifetime the PGC has at best only been reactive in it's manament, never pro-active. Why are we talking about ESH now? This should have been a hot topic 20 years ago. The grouse nunber were at their lowest before they ever thought of conducting any type of study. Turkey have been in decline since the late 90's and the PGC got right on it a couple of years ago. CWD was already a crisis before they took any action, when they could have been learning from surounding states that have been dealing with it for the past 20 years and had a plan in place. At least most of the the game wardens are doing a good job.
Exactly. If the Game Commission is not going to do what needs to be done to protect wildlife, maybe we need a new agency.
 

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I don't know... We've got a big place in Greene County, in antler restriction zone. Tons of deer, turkeys, coyotes, bobcats, etc. Can't say I've noticed much decline in deer numbers in the 30 years I've kicked around there besides the typical fluctuations
I have no idea how old you are, but I hunted Greene for deer in the mid-70's thru mid-80's. Then switched to Washington Co. for deer, but would make some trips to Greene for Grouse up until about the mid-90's. There were wayyyyy more deer than what I see now on occasional trips through the area. We would try to leave for our trip home, because my uncle liked to see all the deer in the fields on the drive home. LOL. My cousin, his son, would sometimes dally late out of the woods, and their would be heck to pay. :rolleyes: It was wayyyy too many deer, I'll admit.

Eastern Washington in the 70's and 80's, wasn't much to speak of for deer. Which is why we headed t Greene. Then in the 90's that all changed in a big way. We were smothered with deer. It tapered off dramatically starting from the time it went from 3 day, to 2 week antlerless. We still have plenty of deer, just not those bloated numbers of the past.
 

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I wish the PGC would start stocking cottontail instead of pheasants. At least they would reproduce if given the chance 馃榿
I have several SGL near me with excellent rabbit habitat. They were clear cut years ago and now have heavy briars and brush piles everywhere. Not a cottontail to be found on them. Rabbits aren鈥檛 going to simply appear when they weren鈥檛 there previously. I鈥檓 not a bird hunter so can鈥檛 say much about grouse.
Actually the Game Commission did have a live trap and restocking program back in the1960's and 70's. They paid Boy Scouts and others t live trap rabbits in town then they took them to various places open t hunting in the country and stocked them.

It didn't seem to do much for increasing rabbit populations and appeared that few of the stocked rabbits survived more than very short term.

They also stocked snowshoe hare in the late 70's and early 80's and that didn't seem to result in increased hare populations either.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Same can be said about pheasants, any difference?
 

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Habitat Restoration
Restoration of significant acreage of early-succession habitat (ESH) remains the central goal of Pennsylvania鈥檚 Ruffed Grouse Management Plan, which outlines best methods to increase populations to 1980鈥檚 levels. That Plan identified a PGC goal of creating 8,000 acres of young forest habitat per year on SGL. Currently, the SGL system has very little young forest (roughly 7% of PGC acreage is less than 20 years old), and a significant amount of old forest (62% of Pennsylvania forests are older than 80 years). This is not an optimum distribution of age classes to meet Grouse and Woodcock Plan goals, which were labeled as 鈥渢oo ambitious鈥 when written.
To achieve a more balanced distribution of age classes on SGL forests, the agency now recognizes that harvests must be increased to about 13,500 acres per year. This is a significant increase from harvesting levels of the last 20+ years when average timber harvests hovered around 6,000 acres per year. It is also more ambitious than the Grouse and Woodcock Management Plan prescriptions. In recognition of this, and even with the challenging weather conditions and volatile timber markets of 2018, the PGC forestry program has increased outputs and are now over 12,000 acres harvested in 2018 (G&W Fig 2).
Plans are in motion to grow outputs even more toward the 13,500-acre annual goal. To accelerate our outputs, the PGC hired 14 additional seasonal forestry staff in early 2018 and has revived our summer intern program, hiring an additional 14 summer interns to assist with forestry efforts. Our goal is to achieve the target of 17 percent of forests in the 0 to 20-year age class within the next 50 years.
During 2018, prescribed fire was used to manage 8,592 acres, including 200 acres on properties enrolled in the Hunter Access Program. Nearly half of the acreage burned was in low quality upland oak restoration projects. Much of the forestry work highlighted above will provide ample opportunity for large-scale use of prescribed fire into the future.
Integration with other early-succession initiatives, and with SGL planning, remains an important element of these efforts. Non-commercial habitat creation is increasingly being used on SGL (G&W Fig 2). Much of this habitat management was made possible by an extra $500,000 that was allocated to PGC forestry for 鈥渞estoration鈥 work, in part as an agency response to dramatic grouse declines in the Commonwealth. Practices included understory cutting, thinning, and mowing projects to set the stage for healthy forest regeneration and provide for future large-scale timber sales. NFWF grant- supported projects directed at young forest restoration also contributed significant funding and resulted in increased annual output. These activities included large-scale regeneration harvests to set back succession where the timber was not of merchantable size or quality.
Active and focused grouse-specific management, as called for in the Ruffed Grouse Management Plan, is necessary to improve grouse populations. For best effect, habitat restoration projects should be sited near grouse production areas to provide high-quality habitat for dispersing juveniles. As populations respond, habitat efforts should be expanded outward in an 鈥榚xpanding bullseye鈥 fashion. Every effort should be made to ensure that dispersing juveniles have appropriate habitat available. To guide internal and external habitat restoration, a Grouse Priority Area Siting Tool (G-PAST) has been developed by PGC. This GIS-based analysis and mapping tool combines known landscape factors that are protective against West Nile Virus (i.e. elevation, slope, soil permeability due to impacts on mosquito breeding pools) and information on nearby grouse source populations (known grouse presence within 2-5 miles). Timber stand information is also incorporated so that foresters can see where recent harvests have occurred and identify sites in need of active management. The tool will officially be rolled out to PGC Foresters and other staff beginning in September 2019.
In addition, the PGC Private Lands Program is soon launching a grouse initiative among our Hunter Access Cooperators. Funds have been allocated and targeted mailings will begin this fall to recruit Access Cooperators to consider more active forest and shrubland management on their properties. Responding landowners will be prioritized by acreage and grouse priority (using the G-PAST tool). Prioritized sites will receive biologist consultation and management plan development, with an emphasis on ruffed grouse.
Targeted grouse habitat efforts in the Northeast and Southcentral regions, in particular, may help these areas live up to their grouse production potential. The Southeast region has an area of high-WNV survival (based on hunter-harvested blood serology). This area should also be the focus of grouse-enhanced management to encourage expansion of that robust population.
- 2019 PGC Grouse and Woodcock status report - Habitat Restoration section

Reads to me, like the PGC is doing more, rather than nothing.
 

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What we need is for pheasant stocking to end until the GC meets it timbering goals. Guaranteed the chicken chokers will be onboard then instead of using phony excuses for a failed agency.
Hahah that鈥檚 rich pheasant hunters are the only ones that have stepped up and started paying more for the privilege maybe they should make a grouse stamp and the money can go to what you think is needed for grouse. Since grouse hunters are the crown jewel of pa hunters maybe you should leave the gun at home and not take any since there so rare even a worthless pheasant hunter like me won鈥檛 shoot any because maybe that鈥檚 a female what will breed. What is it West Nile virus or habitat if it鈥檚 the virus cutting more clear cuts isn鈥檛 going to solve the problem Iv seen many of grouse on strip jobs even. Your constant bashing of other programs because you don鈥檛 participate in it and it doesn鈥檛 benefit you is getting sad. Why don鈥檛 you complain about the bird houses they put out that aren鈥檛 big enough for a grouse to live in.
 

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Habitat Restoration
Restoration of significant acreage of early-succession habitat (ESH) remains the central goal of Pennsylvania鈥檚 Ruffed Grouse Management Plan, which outlines best methods to increase populations to 1980鈥檚 levels. That Plan identified a PGC goal of creating 8,000 acres of young forest habitat per year on SGL. Currently, the SGL system has very little young forest (roughly 7% of PGC acreage is less than 20 years old), and a significant amount of old forest (62% of Pennsylvania forests are older than 80 years). This is not an optimum distribution of age classes to meet Grouse and Woodcock Plan goals, which were labeled as 鈥渢oo ambitious鈥 when written.
To achieve a more balanced distribution of age classes on SGL forests, the agency now recognizes that harvests must be increased to about 13,500 acres per year. This is a significant increase from harvesting levels of the last 20+ years when average timber harvests hovered around 6,000 acres per year. It is also more ambitious than the Grouse and Woodcock Management Plan prescriptions. In recognition of this, and even with the challenging weather conditions and volatile timber markets of 2018, the PGC forestry program has increased outputs and are now over 12,000 acres harvested in 2018 (G&W Fig 2).
Plans are in motion to grow outputs even more toward the 13,500-acre annual goal. To accelerate our outputs, the PGC hired 14 additional seasonal forestry staff in early 2018 and has revived our summer intern program, hiring an additional 14 summer interns to assist with forestry efforts. Our goal is to achieve the target of 17 percent of forests in the 0 to 20-year age class within the next 50 years.
During 2018, prescribed fire was used to manage 8,592 acres, including 200 acres on properties enrolled in the Hunter Access Program. Nearly half of the acreage burned was in low quality upland oak restoration projects. Much of the forestry work highlighted above will provide ample opportunity for large-scale use of prescribed fire into the future.
Integration with other early-succession initiatives, and with SGL planning, remains an important element of these efforts. Non-commercial habitat creation is increasingly being used on SGL (G&W Fig 2). Much of this habitat management was made possible by an extra $500,000 that was allocated to PGC forestry for 鈥渞estoration鈥 work, in part as an agency response to dramatic grouse declines in the Commonwealth. Practices included understory cutting, thinning, and mowing projects to set the stage for healthy forest regeneration and provide for future large-scale timber sales. NFWF grant- supported projects directed at young forest restoration also contributed significant funding and resulted in increased annual output. These activities included large-scale regeneration harvests to set back succession where the timber was not of merchantable size or quality.
Active and focused grouse-specific management, as called for in the Ruffed Grouse Management Plan, is necessary to improve grouse populations. For best effect, habitat restoration projects should be sited near grouse production areas to provide high-quality habitat for dispersing juveniles. As populations respond, habitat efforts should be expanded outward in an 鈥榚xpanding bullseye鈥 fashion. Every effort should be made to ensure that dispersing juveniles have appropriate habitat available. To guide internal and external habitat restoration, a Grouse Priority Area Siting Tool (G-PAST) has been developed by PGC. This GIS-based analysis and mapping tool combines known landscape factors that are protective against West Nile Virus (i.e. elevation, slope, soil permeability due to impacts on mosquito breeding pools) and information on nearby grouse source populations (known grouse presence within 2-5 miles). Timber stand information is also incorporated so that foresters can see where recent harvests have occurred and identify sites in need of active management. The tool will officially be rolled out to PGC Foresters and other staff beginning in September 2019.
In addition, the PGC Private Lands Program is soon launching a grouse initiative among our Hunter Access Cooperators. Funds have been allocated and targeted mailings will begin this fall to recruit Access Cooperators to consider more active forest and shrubland management on their properties. Responding landowners will be prioritized by acreage and grouse priority (using the G-PAST tool). Prioritized sites will receive biologist consultation and management plan development, with an emphasis on ruffed grouse.
Targeted grouse habitat efforts in the Northeast and Southcentral regions, in particular, may help these areas live up to their grouse production potential. The Southeast region has an area of high-WNV survival (based on hunter-harvested blood serology). This area should also be the focus of grouse-enhanced management to encourage expansion of that robust population.
- 2019 PGC Grouse and Woodcock status report - Habitat Restoration section

Reads to me, like the PGC is doing more, rather than nothing.
thank you
 

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Hahah that鈥檚 rich pheasant hunters are the only ones that have stepped up and started paying more for the privilege maybe they should make a grouse stamp and the money can go to what you think is needed for grouse. Since grouse hunters are the crown jewel of pa hunters maybe you should leave the gun at home and not take any since there so rare even a worthless pheasant hunter like me won鈥檛 shoot any because maybe that鈥檚 a female what will breed. What is it West Nile virus or habitat if it鈥檚 the virus cutting more clear cuts isn鈥檛 going to solve the problem Iv seen many of grouse on strip jobs even. Your constant bashing of other programs because you don鈥檛 participate in it and it doesn鈥檛 benefit you is getting sad. Why don鈥檛 you complain about the bird houses they put out that aren鈥檛 big enough for a grouse to live in.
I would glady pay for a grouse permit if the money was used for grouse habitat. I already buy a habitat stamp in Vermont where I also hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
I would gladly pay for a habitat stamp under two conditions.
1. Pheasant stamp needs to fully fund the pheasant stocking program.
2. The GC needs to show how the new money will be spent with a full audit every year. Government agencies are notorious for shuffling money to make it look good, but in reality new income is filtered someplace else and the promise of new and extra spending never happens.
 

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Same can be said about pheasants, any difference?
Yes actually there is a difference that people with a normal level of objectivity should be able to both recognize and understand.

Those rabbit trap and transfer programs of the past were with the objective of starting new populations through survival of the newly released rabbits and natural preproduction. They tried that with pheasants too. All of those initiatives needed to be tried and evaluated to answer the question of whether it would work and produce a successful result.

All of them on the rabbits, hare, pheasant and several other wildlife species were marginal at best. But, they did answer the question of if it was possible.

The current pheasants stocking program is not about starting new populations. It is simply about providing upland bird hunting opportunities for the thousands of sportsmen and hunting dog enthusiasts who wish to participate. Those people hunting pheasants are also paying more, a good bit more as a matter of fact, for their hunting opportunities to help fund the future of the pheasant stocking program.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Discussion Starter · #97 ·
So then why not a rabbit stocking program? $25 stamp, GC throws in an extra $1 million like they do for pheasants and walaa, rabbits raised and stocked for hunters and hound dog enthusiasts.
 

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O
Assuming that's your thoughts as they relate only to the locales you hunt ? Also guessing north of 80 ? That is not the case in Washington County. And as I can't speak for all of SW PA, my suspicion is that the rest of SW region is the same ? Exceedingly and consistently high antlerless allocations have done their job down here. Of course, the Southwest region is like shooting fish in a barrel compared to the northern regions. So it stands to reason, if you add all the opportunity, the harvest will bear it out..

And I know you can't find a grouse anywhere down here now, save for mountain ridges in SW PA, and even that is spotty. But I'm here to tell you, 3 and 4 decades ago, Greene and Western Washington Counties, had about the best grouse hunting in the state.

And... don't know what that all mean or how it applies...... but just sayin'. :confused:
Two of my grouse hunting buddies grew up in Washington Co., a long time ago. They tell me how good the grouse hunting was for them back then.
 

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The PGC is about to try stocking quail next,,,,,,,,,, let me look into my crystal ball and guess how that is going to turn out.:rolleyes:
 
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