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2021 Great Lakes Grouse Talk & Reports


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The MN/WI thread from 2020 was pretty active so why not open it up to the whole Great Lakes region.  Open discussion for any and all with an interest in or who hunt ruffled grouses in this area.  We did a good job last year but please keep locations general and spare Brad any moderating headaches.

 

There will be no hunting reports for a few weeks but we should be able to generate a little talk.  Will start with a 2-hour Northern MN preseason dog run from yesterday.  Found some good new cover, recorded a few waypoints and we flushed a 5 or 6 bird brood with couple of scattered single birds.  The rain we experienced until mid-afternoon and small sample size makes drawing any conclusions on bird counts or nesting success a stretch but definitely happy to see the brood.

 

Ndi was a happy guy to be back in his element.....

 

Ndi%202021%20Preseason-338x450.jpg

 

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I have been out and about, but man do I hate this hot weather.  The dogs are hanging tongue and I have been soaked head to toe from sweat on most outings.  I can't wait to see 50 degrees for a high. 

Had to go on a little road trip this morning to pick up some stuff my wife bought online. Our trip took us through Park Falls, WI. You know the place, Ruffed Grouse Capital etc., which kind of rubbed

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Steelheadfred

I'm optimistic for a good season in the northern lower of MI, we had perfect hatch conditions and plenty of mid and late summer rains.  

 

That said, I'm still half empty on the whole population,  it's not what it was even 7 or 8 years ago.  If we are exiting a cycle peak,  I'm scared what the bottom might look like.  

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26 minutes ago, Steelheadfred said:

That said, I'm still half empty on the whole population,  it's not what it was even 7 or 8 years ago.  If we are exiting a cycle peak,  I'm scared what the bottom might look like.  

 

Yeah, I'm concerned we're in a long term decline.  There are still birds, but it's been a long time since we've had a year with lots of birds.

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finsfurfeathers

Does this incliude my side of the lake?

Been too hot to think about getting out for a run.

Season opens for me 25th of Sept. 

Looking forward to a decent year Think we bottom out a few years ago so hoping on a steady up turn.

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bullseyebill

Fred, heading to northern lower Mi in Oct. for my first ever grouse hunt.

Will be watching this thread closely.

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dogrunner
4 hours ago, Steelheadfred said:

I'm optimistic for a good season in the northern lower of MI, we had perfect hatch conditions and plenty of mid and late summer rains.  

 

That said, I'm still half empty on the whole population,  it's not what it was even 7 or 8 years ago.  If we are exiting a cycle peak,  I'm scared what the bottom might look like.  

Al told me it was not perfect for the hatch when I talked to him at a RGS event and wasn't sure if it would be very good for young birds. 

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3 hours ago, finsfurfeathers said:

Does this incliude my side of the lake?

Been too hot to think about getting out for a run.

Season opens for me 25th of Sept. 

Looking forward to a decent year Think we bottom out a few years ago so hoping on a steady up turn.

 

For sure. We don't recognize international boundaries in this thread

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Steelheadfred
2 hours ago, dogrunner said:

Al told me it was not perfect for the hatch when I talked to him at a RGS event and wasn't sure if it would be very good for young birds. 

 

Well,  he has said also for 20 years "you'll probably find birds where you found em last year."

 

We had almost zero rain first 20 days of June.  By my calculations,  it was the best June since 14.

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Rockford Setters

I have had quite a few reports of broods with 8-10 birds across the lower peninsula. Lots of green cover and insects.  I am optimistic that there will be decent numbers this fall.  

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dogrunner
8 hours ago, Steelheadfred said:

 

Well,  he has said also for 20 years "you'll probably find birds where you found em last year."

 

We had almost zero rain first 20 days of June.  By my calculations,  it was the best June since 14.

I would say that’s a pretty good answer on his part. 😂

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Lots of cabin chores yesterday so we only got out for an hour run in the afternoon.  Didn't score as well on finding new hunting cover but managed to save a couple of waypoints.  Flushed one brood of three or four on the ground & another single. Did see another large brood while traveling the forest road.

 

A couple of the young'un's...

 

2021%20Preseason%20Grouse%202-L.jpg

 

2021%20Preseason%20Grouse%201-L.jpg

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I live in Ohio and started hunting MI LP extensively in the early 2000s when Ohio basically lost our birds.  I'm seeing basically half of what I did 15 years ago.  

 

Its all about how many chicks get killed by west nile.  Drumming reports- only esgtablish how many birds made it through winter.  Last years "boom" in Maine that came out of nowhere coincided with the worst drought in many years.  Less water less west nile.

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2 hours ago, FSZ said:

I live in Ohio and started hunting MI LP extensively in the early 2000s when Ohio basically lost our birds.  I'm seeing basically half of what I did 15 years ago.  

 

Its all about how many chicks get killed by west nile.  Drumming reports- only esgtablish how many birds made it through winter.  Last years "boom" in Maine that came out of nowhere coincided with the worst drought in many years.  Less water less west nile.

 

Not at all up to speed on the West Nile science but was very dry & warm in N MN this season.  As Fred mentioned hopefully this contributed to nesting success and barring any unusual rain events in the next few weeks it should make some historically wet areas much easier to access.  Hope it mitigates the early season bug annoyances too...

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On 8/29/2021 at 4:09 PM, finsfurfeathers said:

Does this incliude my side of the lake?

Been too hot to think about getting out for a run.

Season opens for me 25th of Sept. 

Looking forward to a decent year Think we bottom out a few years ago so hoping on a steady up turn.

Well I consider our hunt next of the top of Superior a Great Lakes hunt if that counts.  We got into twice as many Sprucies than Ruffs.  We also ran the hound midday for snowshoes to break up the AM and PM bird hunts to give the pointer a rest.  We've been to MI lower and upper a lot also hitting NW WI.  For ruff hunters from W PA, the Great Lakes were our aspirational hunts.

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Pinecobleguy
On 8/29/2021 at 9:54 PM, Steelheadfred said:

 

Well,  he has said also for 20 years "you'll probably find birds where you found em last year."

 

We had almost zero rain first 20 days of June.  By my calculations,  it was the best June since 14.

Al may be a "good guy" but he hasn't acknowledged reality for a very long time.  

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