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      TO THOSE REGISTERING FOR MEMBERSHIP ON UJ   01/06/2018

      To the Guests who have decided to register for Membership. PLEASE read Terms of Service, not just checking it off. This is covered there: Add more info than just "hunting" or "Upland hunting" or "birds" or "outdoors" or similar nebulous terms in the required INTERESTS field. Despite this Boards strong spam filtering function, some Spam registrations do sneak through. I need an inkling that you are a human being not a Spam Bot tagging onto key words. Also please do not use a business name as your User Name. Thank you.
Mike Connally

The new Southern game bird

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Mike Connally

When I first started hunting woodcock in Virginia I never ran into another WC hunter. We all hunted quail and grouse. Those two birds went away. Bird hunters from here traveled north and west to hunt wild birds or hunted preserves. Or gave up their dogs. 

 

Today, I find woodcock hunters everywhere. Bird hunting has been reborn in the south on the woodcock flights. 

I wonder if this change is really being documented and researched correctly. When I get my yearly HIP survey it’s always only for Virginia. Most years I take only about 1/3 of my WC here. And if I remember correctly they ask in increments of 30. I remember speaking to one of our biologists who told me that there were only 2300 WC harvested in Virginia each year. That’s a ridiculously low number. 

 

Do do you think the current reporting system is valid anymore? Do the seasons and bag limits need to be looked at? 

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Mike Connally

Excerpt from that biologists email.

That seems like a very low harvest per hunter. The year before that four of us shot over 60 WC over my dog in Virginia. 

 

Thanks for your input.  We only have around 1,400 woodcock hunters and harvest only about 2,300 birds

 

 

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dogrunner

Yes the system could use some refinements probably in every state. 

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troutchops

Common sense would seem to dictate that as pressure increases throughout every state in the flyway, bag limits and seasonal dates be revisited.

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Randy S

First, I would like to see a study that proves reducing the federal daily bag of woodcock from 5 to 3 resulted in an increase in woodcock numbers.  

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dogrunner
22 minutes ago, Randy S said:

First, I would like to see a study that proves reducing the federal daily bag of woodcock from 5 to 3 resulted in an increase in woodcock numbers.  

I use to see more before than I do now. I bet they have no clue on that info.

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Dave in Maine

Several years ago the feds gave Maine an additional 15 days of woodcock season.  Previously, it had ended on 10/31.  After that change it ends in mid-November.  The reason they gave for expanding the season was "sport hunting is having no effect on the population" (or words to that effect).

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Craig Doherty

A few things come to mind -- first in the Northeast we had a 45 day season that went to 30 days then back to 45.  Where I live the last ten days of the season don't mater as the flight birds are usually gone sometime in the first few days of November.  Research for woodcock has been flawed for a long time.  A lot of singing routes have remained the same despite the fact that singing grounds have been lost to development.  The HIP survey with its 0-30, 30-45, etc brackets is all but useless data.  The wing survey is completely voluntary and was discussed recently in another thread and despite some interesting age and sex data really doesn't provide any real information about harvest numbers.  The worst thing that has happened to woodcock is the discovery of them by people along the migration.  It always upsets me that my training birds have to survive the barrage all the way south and back to get back in my training covers for the next summer.  Finally, I don't shoot any native woodcock -- just becasse from Quebec.

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Brad Eden

I'm glad I'm not a Woodcock.

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Mike Connally
59 minutes ago, charlo slim said:

Some info on the subject --

 

Woodcock - hunting / survival

That study is 8 years old. The “discovery” of WC as a major southern game bird is more recent. Also it’s interesting to me that it was conducted in traditional northeast WC hunting states. I’m beginning to think that the southern harvest has gotten much larger and is under-reported. 

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charlo slim
9 minutes ago, Mike Connally said:

That study is 8 years old. The “discovery” of WC as a major southern game bird is more recent. Also it’s interesting to me that it was conducted in traditional northeast WC hunting states. I’m beginning to think that the southern harvest has gotten much larger and is under-reported. 

 

You could be right, Mike.  I haven't really followed the research / monitoring of woodcock population status much at all, but it's pretty obvious that woodcock have not received anywhere near the attention of other migratory game bird species like waterfowl.  That situation seems to have improved some in the past few decades, but still remains comparatively weak.  I would guess that woodcock harvest rates and mortality rates are estimated using band recovery data, as is the case with waterfowl.  Just a guess, but if that is so then any major change in harvest rates should show up.

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mccuha

I’m supposed to be basically at the end of there migration route and I know of very few people that actually hunt them. I’ve been hunting them seriously for the last 15 yrs and have yet to actually run into anyone that is hunting for them. I know a few that will shoot them if they walk them up while hunting rabbits or squirrels 

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mccuha
8 hours ago, Randy S said:

First, I would like to see a study that proves reducing the federal daily bag of woodcock from 5 to 3 resulted in an increase in woodcock numbers.  

I thought the limit was 3 everywhere 

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WPG Gizmo

As with anything when you rely on input from people to give you a accurate account of what they take your going to get low numbers.  The unfortunate fact is that the only way to get the numbers is to rely that the ones you get are true. 

 

The low down dirty fact is that with any game that people hunt some will lie about what they take.   I have known deer hunters that never check a deer in they take it home and butcher it then go out for more same with bird hunters that get a limit in the morning go home then go back out later in the day.  It is the nature of the beast that someone will always try to beat the system.  This is not all hunters I would say that 90% are honest hunters but there are plenty that are not that never get caught.

 

About 1400 hunters only harvest about 2300 birds does not really tell you much according to their numbers each hunter only got 1.6 birds what they should be asking is 

How many hours did they hunt, how many days afield

How many did they see and not shoot at or shoot at and miss

 

 

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