April Snowstorms Affect On Grouse Nesting

4/15/18 @ 8:55 AM
ORIGINAL POST
thinblueline
thinblueline
USER since 1/25/10

I don’t know much about ruffed grouse nesting. I know last year was supposed to be the first year of the cycle upswing based on drumming counts but cold wet weather in the spring took its toll on broods and the season proved pretty poor for many. 

With much of grouse country buried in a couple feet of heavy wet snow here in mid-April and the cold continuing through April to keep much of the snow around, will ruffed grouse delay nesting until enough of the snow is gone? Can they even nest with so much widespread snow cover? Will they abandon the idea of nesting if we get beyond a certain point on the calendar and still haven’t been able to nest? Will the cold weather and deep snow have a negative affect on the physical condition of nesting hens and their ability to produce? 

Anybody have the answers to these questions?

Post Your Comment
Displaying 1 to 10 of 21 Posts
5/14/18 @ 7:24 PM
sniper
sniper
USER since 10/17/01

I agree with duckjunkie. I live in Price County and heard a lot of drumming and saw a lot of good broods last summer. It was really baffling why I wasn't seeing many birds last fall. This article has me concerned. Apparently West Nile has been having an effect in Pennsylvania for years and confirmed in the UP last fall. Could this be the reason?

 https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/columnists/paul-smith/2017/12/06/smith-ruffed-grouse-numbers-may-suffering-west-nile-virus/924837001/

Post Your Comment
5/11/18 @ 4:32 PM
river_chaser
river_chaser
USER since 10/3/12

Been hearing/seeing woodcock in the evenings but I see and hear them on the ground and not in their mating flight so thats worrisome.

Post Your Comment
4/23/18 @ 12:04 PM
grub
grub
USER since 7/11/01

Had several woodcock hanging around my yard in Dane County during heavy snow up north recently.  They seemed to be getting worms on exposed lawn just fine.  All gone now that snow is gone.  Never had them in yard before. Crappy pic attached.

Post Your Comment
4/21/18 @ 9:02 PM
river_chaser
river_chaser
USER since 10/3/12

THERE IS HOPE.  Just went for a walk after dark, awesome night out, no wind.  Flushed a woodcock from the edge of driveway didnt appear weak.

Post Your Comment
4/21/18 @ 8:19 AM
Steve White
Steve White
USER since 3/17/04

Unfortunately the woodcock that migrated early were doomed. Really dont know how long they can go without food. Doubt it is very long though.  Perhaps they could find enough sustenance from snow fleas? That is if available, and would eat them? Not seen any here yet. Although I do know a few have showed up in the UP already. Some areas have already opened back up to bare ground. Perhaps to little to late though.

Would seem though the majority of migratory birds knew to stay back. A few ducks have come back already. Just had a flock of geese go honking over my house.  A pair of swans were just up the on Fawn lake the last few days. Didnt seem them yesterday however.

Even the eagles disappered with the big storms. They were everywhere feasting on all the dead deer exposed by melting before this last round of garbage. Had 5 for several days in front of my house. Not see one since the snow. Perhaps they found  place to hunker down. At least lets hope so!

Post Your Comment
4/20/18 @ 9:03 PM
river_chaser
river_chaser
USER since 10/3/12

Just thinking about the woodcock. Last week I did hear a few of them here as I live in an ag area with wetlands and since the storm ended Ive heard nothing.  What can woodcock do under the circumstances?  Rather than fly through beating snow and sleet driven by 40 mph winds they hunker down and wait ti out, not knowing theyr being buried for a duration of 3 days and 18 inches of wet snow, rain and sleet. . Its like one of us being buried in an avalanche 20 feet under and no help available.  Wouldnt surprise me if the next couple years we see few woodcock in Wisconsin.

Post Your Comment
4/20/18 @ 11:55 AM
fishgodwi
fishgodwi
USER since 7/28/10

The weak woodcocks r no lie. My uncle lives n Juneau county and works for the township and travels the roads daily. He is finding lots and lots of dead or dying woodcocks all along the roadways. A very sad sight. Early spring is the worst time of yr to get a heavy deep snow storm. Hurts all animals and birds.

Post Your Comment
4/20/18 @ 8:10 AM
duckjunkie
duckjunkie
USER since 11/3/08

What I was getting at was I had no reason to disagree with the drumming counts. I live in the woods, I spend most days out in the woods, what I heard as far as drumming wasn't far off the DNR numbers. I seen numerous chicks and saw lots of young birds in late summer/early fall. I couldn' walk thru my property in late August without kicking up groups of young birds, then nothing. I don' care if people distrust the DNR or whatever. But something happened to the bird numbers  that wasn' caused by a wet spring or unreliable drum counts. 

Post Your Comment
4/20/18 @ 7:40 AM
Steve White
Steve White
USER since 3/17/04

Duck did not call you that. Was refering to the drum counts. Which is mostly done by volunteers. Just like many of the other programs. Predator survey, no wolf tracks found. In my area even paid a guy to not find any wolf tracks!   The last bear study. Guys snatched up area's before I could. One in my main hunt area. Got only 10% hits. Guy to the west didnt get a single hit. I got the area in between. Which was basically around my house. I had 100% hits in the first week!! How is this possible? Guy to the east I know is a trapper. Why were his numbers low. Turns out the guy to the west of my blocks was an anti-hunter. Imagine that!

No doubt some of the volunteers are knowledgeable. Spend a lot of time in the bush. Which leads me to believe that our wonderful DNR is skewing the numbers to what they want.  Just like the drum counts. Propaganda to promote tourism. Which absolutely worked. More hunters around Park Falls than most have ever seen before. License plates from all over the country. Those folks that left disgusted. Just may never come back. More harm than good in the long run! 

Post Your Comment
4/18/18 @ 9:20 PM
duckjunkie
duckjunkie
USER since 11/3/08

I was just stating my observations. I'm no weekend warrior, I spend a similar amount of time in the woods as you

Post Your Comment
Displaying 1 to 10 of 21 Posts