Lets here some good dog stories as well.
Can we attach pictures in this forum now?
Per Jaqi Christopher, WI DNR Assistant Upland Ecologist with the Bureau of Wildlife Management: The season dates have not changed as of yet. At the last Natural Resources Board meeting on June 27th, the board passed a motion which would allow them to vote on the season change at a future meeting. They will most likely vote on the rule change at the August meeting or the September meeting. Information on the meetings can be found here: https://dnr.wi.gov/about/nrb/calendar.html. To submit public comment on the grouse season, you can contact your conservation congress delegates (info here: https://dnr.wi.gov/about/wcc/) or submit comments for the next NRB meeting (info here: https://dnr.wi.gov/about/nrb/public.html).
SJB and JS you guys touch on reason I love the comedy on Wisconsin public radio. listening to a caller one time who identified herself as a sierra club member and she is emphatic that we must have old growth forest with large trees because this is what the TIMBER wolf prefers for habitat. I was in utter disbelief at that comment but this is what the sierra club does to people and they attract money to influence court decisions and legislation.
I have been in touch with my contact at the WI DNR. The theory behind the closed late season, more than likely those birds will make it to the spring for breeding. Early season birds, especially the yoy, mortality rate is high - from all sorts of sources, not exclusive to hunting. If the birds made it to December, their likelihood they make it to breed is fairly high.
Many counties could use more chainsaws running. The national forest especially, and you can thank the nut jobs on the left for holding up the cutting in the courts. Now more is happening, but at a slow rate. What you need is non-segmented cuttings - where you will have 20 acres cut, with another 20 acres cut nearby. Then 5-10 years down the road, cut another few areas about the same size. Too many places I see are simply too old, or not enough areas near by for new grouse to establish a territory.
Its been about 15 years but I hunted that area some. From vanalstine rd up to fish hatchery area. Some years we got a lot of bird action. 20+ yrs ago ran into a retired game warden who was deer hunting there with a worn out looking lever action rifle; said he lived at the end of Vanalstine rd.
Its true the areas i hunt are closer to highway 64 than 8 so i cant comment on the far north. I can however tell you that counties such as Langlade/Oconto etc could definately benefit from a chainsaw. Plenty of National forest going to waste, unless of course you prefer old woods, barren of nearly all wildlife. Not singling anybody out as im sure we all want the best possible for the areas we hunt. I have logged over 30 years in the grouse woods so ive seen the ups and downs. I just hope this downward trend doesnt continue. I enjoy hunting late season grouse most of all and i hope im able to do it again sooner vs later.
Perhaps youre looking at a different part of wisconsin than most grouse hunters look at? There is considerable logging in the northern 1/3 of state and thus there is more prime grouse habitat than is hunted. Optimal habitat and low hunting mortality doesnt guarantee high levels of grouse numbers as the variables that affect population are numerous and not completely known. I could be wrong but Ive never heard of burning as a ruffed grouse management tool. Other types of grouse may benefit from controlled burns but not ruffies to my knowledge.
More research would be desireable but doesnt necessarily equate to more better hunting either. Just because we know that certain variables are influential doesnt always mean we can control or should control those variables. Some varibles cannot be controlled, example, even if we know for certain that west nile virus is having a large negative effect on a population doesnt we mean we will find a way to manage that disease. Even if we coould manage something such as WNV $100,000 a year wouldnt be effective.
So you dont think the money could be used for improving habitat? I know of thousands of acres that could use logging, burning or whatever you prefer. Some of the counties are taking matters into their own hands. Im sure they could use some extra funding. If an extra $10 a yr keeps me hunting till Jan 31st vs Nov 30th im all for it.