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Status of Woodcock Organizations?


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Steelheadfred

Thanks--I thought there was an RGS component to Woodcock Limited closing its doors.

Brad,

There is no component in RGS to WCL closing the doors, RGS's biggest challenge remains the management of federal forests, a decision was made to to include WC in the program because they are a federally managed bird. Having WC as part of RGS's mission gives RGS leverage to have work done on Federal Lands. Leverage in the fashion of law suits against the feds to manage lands for WC.

We all know the Federal Forests in the Upper Great Lakes are a mess.

Some believe RGS saw WCL as a threat, I dont believe this to be true. My information comes from State wide RGS workshop in which Dr. Zagata, Dan Desseker, and other upper level RGS folks spoke about this issue for a number of years. Explaining why federally managed WC is the key to getting habitat work done on federal forests.

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Here's a few more thoughts from my perspective, with a little background info.

I have been a long time member, banquet committee member and still am a strong supporter of RGS, which has stood the test of time and has done more nationally for grouse, woodcock and young forest wildlife than any other conservation organization.  That, they continue to do.

Back in the late 70's and early 80s I had the pleasure to meet Sam Pursglove, Rod Sando and other early RGS staffers.  I wrote several articles for the early "Drummer" paper newsprint magazine.  We hosted a Nat'l meeting (Ed Zern was the dinner speaker) here in central Wisconsin and by all accounts, hosted the first "National Hunt".  But that's another story.

Over the years, RGS's Dan Dessecker, RGS Director of Conservation Policy, has purchased several pups from me - last spring he picked up another.  I consider him a good friend.

All that said, RGS, like most non-profit specie specific organizations, has had its problems over the years.  

In steps Woodcock Limited.  Intrigued, I packed up my travel trailer, crossed the Mackinaw Bridge and spent several days in Travers City, Michigan - to attend the organizational meeting for Woodcock Limited.  I came back to Wisconsin charged but, well.....Linda covered the eventual demise of the group.

If there was good to come from their endeavor - then Steve Smith and Frank Jezioro can take comfort in these few facts.

1 - RGS was given a wake-up call on their perceived - right or wrong - lack of attention towards the American Woodcock.  They, as someone else mentioned, incorporated the woodcock in their logo.  Today, they champion our beloved bird like no other national group.

2 - A national woodcock stamp, discussed during the early days of Woodcock Limited is now a front and center issue.

3 - Several other woodcock groups are alive and well in MN and PA.  As a result, or in addition to, Woodcock Limited's short lifespan?

But last and not least,

4 - Ken found out he can pull a 21 foot travel trailer over the monster Mackinaw Bridge.  No easy feat indeed!

5 - Ken met and spent a couple of interesting after-hours with Steve Smith - over scotch and beer - and he shared with me several first-hand stories about his close friend Gene Hill.  Priceless.  But that's another story............

Ken

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I'm one of the founding members of the Iowa chapter, RGS--although I was a member of RGS (and also wrote for The Drummer) long before we had an Iowa chapter.  (I've also hunted woodcock in Iowa since 1973, only missing the very first season the birds became legal game here.)  That being said, sometimes RGS still needs a good "nudge" where woodcock are concerned.  When the idea of a woodcock stamp was first raised (or maybe I should say most recently raised--it's not a new idea), RGS National sort of shrugged their collective shoulders.  Meanwhile, in a significant show of unity, the editors of the major bird hunting magazines--Pointing Dog/Retriever Journals, Shooting Sportsman, and Gun Dog (not sure about Upland Almanac)--all responded positively to Steve Smith's suggestion that they come out in support of the woodcock stamp, and all those magazines printed editorials explaining and supporting the woodcock stamp initiative.  After that, and after they conducted a member survey, RGS did jump on board the woodcock stamp bandwagon.  I'm glad they did, even if it did take a bit of pushing to get them there.
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Damn! I was at that meeting Ken, wish I'd had the pleasure of shaking your hand.

What year was that?

Had I known then what I know now, you and I coulda snuck off and called Eden and told him we had a good idea about a web based internet chat room about upland hunting!

Then we would be basking in all his profits!  Oh, wait a minute - his bank card just bounced.  :down:

Oh, well........

Ken

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3 - Several other woodcock groups are alive and well in MN and PA.  As a result, or in addition to, Woodcock Limited's short lifespan?

I'd say in spite of in MN's case.  The organizers of woodcock MN got things going nearly at the same time as woodcock limited and at least one attended the MI event you mentioned, but as someone else mentioned the reduction in limit focus and strong eastern US/eastern great lakes apparent bias--or a fear that's where WL was headed--led them to think a MN specific org was still called for.  

And they are still plugging along.  Some energetic leadership has helped.  

http://www.woodcockminnesota.org/

I'd be one to side with RGS's version of events based on my years of experience with them,  i.e. that they always considered woodcock, advocated for them, provided funding for specific projects for them, etc.  

But I won't deny (nor will a number of RGS bio's and officials I've talked to) that the various woodcock groups sharpened their dual focus a bit more.  Not a bad thing.  

Not sure I'd say the woodcock stamp idea is worthwhile though, as has been discussed in threads before.

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What year was that?

Ken

That must have been 2002 or '03.

This board was already up and running because I was up there with a guy I met thru UJ.

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because I was up there with a guy I met thru UJ.

Does your wife know...that your meeting men...on the internet???

She's only worried about you.

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because I was up there with a guy I met thru UJ.

Does your wife know...that your meeting men...on the internet???

She's only worried about you.

Well...that's understandable...

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I don't think the woodcock stamp would generate a huge amount of money for habitat work.  However, a lot of woodcock habitat work is done by commerical loggers anyhow, although every little bit more helps.  One thing a woodcock stamp would do is give an accurate count of woodcock hunters and how much interest there is in the bird, nationwide.  HIP was supposed to do that, but I'm not sure it has.

Not that Iowa is ever going to be a top grouse and woodcock state, but I really like what the DNR has been doing recently concerning forest habitat.  They've held public meetings, pointing out to the audience that we've lost most of our early successional forest.  (Not a lot of commercial logging in Iowa, and almost no clearcutting.)  They're doing surveys of all the state wildlife areas with timber, and their goal is to significantly increase the percentage of early successional forest.  And they're using grouse and woodcock as their major "poster birds" in this effort.  Funding will come mostly from the profits from selective cutting of commercially valuable timber on those same wildlife areas, plus crop ground rental, etc.  Plus whatever we can convince RGS National to give them to fund habitat restoration projects.

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I don't think the woodcock stamp would generate a huge amount of money for habitat work.  However, a lot of woodcock habitat work is done by commerical loggers anyhow, although every little bit more helps.  One thing a woodcock stamp would do is give an accurate count of woodcock hunters and how much interest there is in the bird, nationwide.  HIP was supposed to do that, but I'm not sure it has.

Not that Iowa is ever going to be a top grouse and woodcock state, but I really like what the DNR has been doing recently concerning forest habitat.  They've held public meetings, pointing out to the audience that we've lost most of our early successional forest.  (Not a lot of commercial logging in Iowa, and almost no clearcutting.)  They're doing surveys of all the state wildlife areas with timber, and their goal is to significantly increase the percentage of early successional forest.  And they're using grouse and woodcock as their major "poster birds" in this effort.  Funding will come mostly from the profits from selective cutting of commercially valuable timber on those same wildlife areas, plus crop ground rental, etc.  Plus whatever we can convince RGS National to give them to fund habitat restoration projects.

One thing I would agree on is the money generated at a Federal level could be used to focus on Woodcock habitat.

The focus could be active management or dedicated study (biologists). To me there is two components of WC habitat, breeding grounds, and wintering grounds.

Woodcock also use tag alder, maybe some active management in that area. It has no commercial value, but my understanding is it responds to cutting like Aspen.

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