Wisconsin Ruffed Grouse Forecast Optimistic
Bird hunters should be optimistic, pleased in fact, any time a ruffed grouse forecast based on drumming surveys reveals changes in single digits.
The 2015 ruffed grouse drumming survey 2015 opens by stating, “Statewide ruffed grouse population indices decreased 2.4 percent between 2014 and 2015 …”
Of course Wisconsin is a large state and average numbers mean little to a hunter who spends time in one county, or one 1,000-acre area in one county.
When hunters consider ruffed grouse, many are eliminating everything except the Northern Region. Here there was a 13 percent decrease, overall, with 21 routes decreasing, nine increasing, and 13 reporting no change from 2014.
By the calendar, hunters know 2015 is well beyond the peak in the present grouse cycle and probably near the bottom.
So when the overall change from last year is minimal and the population is near the bottom of the cycle and the hunting last year was relatively good, hunters should look forward to another good season.
The peaks in the 1970s and 1980s are so far back that one probably can’t recall 50 flushes/sightings on an all-day hunt.
With expectations being similar to 2014, this is not the year to forgo grouse hunting to expand waterfowl or pheasant hunting treks.
In fact, ruffed grouse hunters can expect to flush not only grouse, but turkeys and woodcocks, too.