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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 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 it is not bullet proof, so Spam registrations do sneak through. I need an inkling that you are a warm blooded human being not a Spam Bot tagging onto key words. Thank you.
Mike Connally

The new Southern game bird

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RuffChaser
1 hour ago, Steelheadfred said:

The growing attention to WC is most likely a very good thing, if you don't have a user it's hard to have a reason for management. 

 

 

My wife rolls her eyes if anyone mentions them because she knows I am full of what she calls "useless information" regarding them. She knows it'll come out, I just can't help myself. Not that I know everything. I'm no biologist but they fascinate me and make want to know more about them. Being a bander also gives me access to people that know much more and have worked with them most of their professional life. They provide insight on new research that only adds to my wealth of "useless information." Part of me hopes we don't figure everything out about them. Like everyone else I want to know enough to help them and improve their numbers but not enough to know it all. I think the fact they we know so little about them is part of what draws me to them.

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mccuha
7 minutes ago, RuffChaser said:

 

My wife rolls her eyes if anyone mentions them because she knows I am full of what she calls "useless information" regarding them. She knows it'll come out, I just can't help myself. Not that I know everything. I'm no biologist but they fascinate me and make want to know more about them. Being a bander also gives me access to people that know much more and have worked with them most of their professional life. They provide insight on new research that only adds to my wealth of "useless information." Part of me hopes we don't figure everything out about them. Like everyone else I want to know enough to help them and improve their numbers but not enough to know it all. I think the fact they we know so little abut them  is part of what draws me to them.

Sounds like you may have stayed at one or two Holliday Inn expresses before.  LOL

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Longrifle

I blame online bulletin boards for increased pressure on woodcock in the south.

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dogrunner

I blame less game birds,less cover and more baby boomers retiring and being able to travel and hunt in more states. 

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RuffChaser

If I remember correctly here in MN the WC population has somewhat stabilized over the last few years. On the East Coast there has been a steady decline. We saw a similar decline here (and I suspect the other Great Lakes States as well) for a while but I believe they have stabilized (I think the other Great lakes States may have also stabilized a little). I think the reason for that is we have a large amount of public land and a fair amount of logging still going on. If the pheasant numbers don't pick up the grouse and WC numbers may be affected. I wish pheasant numbers would skyrocket to keep those fair weather hunters out of the grouse woods:D

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MNice
On 1/9/2018 at 5:37 AM, Mike Connally said:

How did they get 1.6 per hunter?

Shoot off one wing?

 

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jeff88

Shannon Tomkins is the local Houston outdoors writer for the Chronicle, a very good one at that.  This year is the 1st time I've noticed him mention woodcock hunting in a column.  Having hunted them in the Pineywoods for well over a decade, aside from a couple of gents I met through the UJ, have never encountered another TX woodcock hunter in either Davy Crockett or Sam Houston Nat'l Forests where I hunt them.  When I'm asked by boar or deer hunters what I'm after, they haven't even heard of woodcock.  I've even shown some birds from the bag and they say they haven't seen them either.  They probably think I'm after squirrel or bunnies and I will take a rabbit while woodcock hunting.

 

Since a major drought many years ago, I'm not seeing many in locations that used to be predictably solid producers nor in new areas I've bushwhacked.  I'll be out again this weekend in a couple of old haunts and trying a few new areas with hope of running into a flight or two.  Before the drought if I was out for a day and didn't have a pair or three, it was not the norm.  During his 1st woodcock hunt in Davy Crockett, my son limited in two hours - he thought that was normal.

 

When getting a TX license and adding the migratory bird stamp, you will be asked how many woodcock you bagged last year (along with how many doves).  That could be one of the sources for stats, not sure how else TX measures this.  BTW, when I've asked the license providers in the past if they know what a woodcock is, they don't have any idea.  

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Randy S

I don't blame hunters for hunting. Or hunter talk for that matter. I sometimes wonder if we consider that all hunters have a finite amount of time to spend in the field. If we spend it in Montana then we're not hunting in the Dakotas, or Kansas or...North Carolina. And if we're hunting woodcock, we aren't hunting quail or ruffed grouse? Would we rather they traded their dogs and guns for golf? Or maybe just keep hunting eastern quail and ruffed grouse until they've killed the last one and leave woodcock for who? 

 

If it's traveling and retiring "baby boomers" that worries everyone, we needn't bother, we're dying off as fast as habitat. If it's the guy who didn't quit hunting because quail are gone, then I question if the true motive is protecting birds or hoarding them. 

 

Or perhaps we could encourage game departments to lower all the daily bag and possession limits to one and one so traveling bird hunters would just stop traveling? Then we could trade our shotguns for binoculars, and dogs for leather bound notebooks, and contribute to the Audubon Society instead of the Upland Journal.  

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mccuha
1 hour ago, dogrunner said:

I blame less game birds,less cover and more baby boomers retiring and being able to travel and hunt in more states. 

I can tell you that that's one of the main reasons I hunt woodcock. The lack of quail at home. I as well travel more to other places to be able to get into huntable no.'s of game birds. I also travel though to see the country and experience the hunting available in those states. I agree with another statement as well. If the game bird populations were not low on pheasant, quail and the such a lot of people would stay closer home to hunt. If I had quail no.'s like other western states I wouldn't travel across the country as much.

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zhtrainer

I train on them but have never shot one. I see them as an ideal wild bird to start a young dog.

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tut

The spring migration to the north is the perfect time for dog training.  You can't shoot them then and they are generally around for a few days and are gone again.  I hit one farm last year just to let the dogs blow the carbon out and little Sophie in 90 minutes pointed 11 Woodcock.  I saw "we will be back" :)  Came back three days later and they were all gone.  Hit and miss, but when they are in they are the perfect thing for dogs to sharpen up on. 

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Huntschool

Well..... now aint this an interesting thread......   I will now add my 2 cents.....

 

I grew up in NE Jersey right on the Rockland Co, NY line an hour or so from the famous "Drowned Grounds of woodcock shooting history.  My Dad was a bird dog nut and we hunted woodcock and grouse and anything else save for some trips down to South Jersey and NC/SC for quail,  was a trash bird.  My primary bird of study back in school was quail because no one here in the Southern tip of IL was interested in anything else.  I felt a bit saddened at the loss of my favorite game bird........ 

 

Lets cut to the chase.....  The migratory flight of Eastern flyway birds has been virtually destroyed by development.  I saw it when I was still a kid back in the 60's in South Jersey.  If one wants to see woodcock en mass just get your dates right and get down around Cape May while the birds are waiting to fly across the bay....  we are talking, back then, you could have 20 points in less than an acre of cover.... yea, 20 points that doesn't count sympathetic flushes.....  Even this great build up is not what it once was.

 

I accidentally found there were woodcock galore in Southernmost Illinois one morning going in to duck hunt some federal property along the Mississippi River.  Suffice it to say the little russet fellers were every where.  I handed off my sack of decoys and went back to my truck and drove 45 minutes back to my place to get my bird dogs.  When I got back, I had the best two hours of woodcock hunting I had almost ever had in my life.  That event sparked my interest academically in the bird on/in the Mississippi/Midwest flyway.

 

There was a bunch of research being done by various schools regarding this flyway, some of the best out of Steven F. Austin University in  Nacogdoches, TX and another is AR State.  The gentelman with SFA, Dr Monte Whiting, who I spent several hours on the phone with years ago, prior to his passing asking questions about his nesting findings along the return route from TX/LA had spen many years doing this research and he was a woodcock hunter himself.

 

Dr Whiting felt there was a real census problem regarding counting birds all the way up north as far as population numbers were concerned.  He found numerous nests in the East Texas piney woods that were hatched and then some of those birds, after fledging and gaining strength, also entered the migration north.  I personally found numerous hens on nests in late march here in Southernmost Illinois. 

 

These are amazing little birds.  Truth is we, as woodcock hunters make up a very small number of users and as such dont get muck recognition when it comes to scientific investigation of our resource.

 

I would hope there could be another Monte or Greg Sepik to carry on research on our favorite bird.

 

I have kind of gone around the point here but, suffice it to say our bird need help as far as research recommendations are concerned based on real bird ecology.  Not something from the 60's.

 

Just an old guys ramblings.......

 

 

 

 

 

 

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snakeroll

Some of my most memorable hunts have occurred in the south after the north season ends. I'd give up 15 days of the woodcock season for an increase of 3-5 birds per bag. 

 

Also, the black duck population although it has declined across it's range due to a myrid of issues including hybridization with mallards, had their daily bag limit increase from 1-2 birds . Not sure why an increase wouldn't be possible, as the literature suggests " you cant stockpile smallgame". Either the supporting habitat is there, or it isn't.

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mccuha

I’m surprised that the no. Of black ducks went from 1 to 2.  I mounted one Not only to have it mounted but because of hybridization and lower and lower no.s I figured they would one day stop allowing them to be harvested.  We deffinetly see lower no.s ea year of that duck. 

 

Another note.  I would gladly trade a woodcock hunt- info far a northern grouse hunt. Our problem is the inconsistencies of migrations due to weather patterns

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madduckdog

if quail shine again in Arkansas I will still spend time woodcock hunting

 

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