did anyone kill a grouse over a point in Ky this year? truth please

Discussion in 'Small Game Hunting' started by Bee, Feb 24, 2021.

  1. carnivore

    carnivore 12 pointer

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    I personally don't hunt grouse but I'm appalled at the lack of response by the KDFWR and their in-ability to perform timely research or effectively combat the extinction of a game species from our state. This can happen to other species as well, so i see it relevant to all hunters.

    As for the grouse. Realistically, is it too late at this point? The habitat cause seems lame to me and as you say there is still prime habitat void of grouse. I suppose it is more fractured than it used to be and birds are essentially penned into certain areas. But as you say there has to be something else. Strategic logging could certainly change this but the populations are so low at this point I'm not sure you could tell if it was effective.

    I personally believe the raptor population has exploded and is having a huge impact. DDT kept hawk and owl numbers low (too low) in the heyday of small game hunting. I believe this to be the largest cause coupled with habitat issues.

    Disease seems unlikely (to me) and typically wont decimate a population. Fractured habitat and segregated populations should reduce the impact of disease as well. There are certainly examples of disease causing extinction (in this case extirpation) but its rare. The American chestnut comes to mind.

    On a side note Lucky dog (if you are who i think you are) i believe you took me and your boy Brett fishing on elkhorn creek over 20 years ago. I caught a monster smallmouth that sat in your freezer for some time, hell it might still be in there lol. If it was you thanks again for taking two young knuckleheads fishing. I applied what you guys taught me and waded stoner creek (and a few others) for several years after that. I never caught as many as you guys did but usually caught enough for a nice fried redeye supper and always enjoyed my time alone fishing creeks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  2. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

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    Lucky/ Carnivore, if you go back in the annals of the board myself and many others saw early effects of the grouse loss maybe fifteen yeas ago and pleaded for the biologists to get serious about the grouse decline. We kept that up for years on here. Eventually I got some calls from the KY biologists, and they really didn't have the money or resources to do anything comprehensive. Grouse hunting is a non revenue sport for the state.unlike deer turkey elk it didn't draw non residents

    IMO No question grouse decline is a lot more than decline or loss of second growth as there is a massive amount of private land timber cutting and mining reclamation still aging out for great to good vegetation habitat.
    There are continuing debates on some of the focused bird hunting internet forums about causation. The Phrase I have used for years is "Death by a Thousand Cuts" and it is now seen often in peoples posts and comments. Predation, footed and winged. Disease, West Nile and others perhaps. Food /space competition from turkeys. Human Development impeding fall disbursal movements and this Corridor separation creating pockets with limited habitat . Human intrusion through gas well roads, four wheeler trails everywhere, highways,. Some climate changes have played in to it too ( and Im not a fan of many the climate change theories) but what birds are left usually are found in the highest possible elevations in many southern areas of the former population.etc etc.

    I have no single answer and Ive sort of studied these critters for more than half a century as an observer . As a young adult I actually helped the Ky grouse biologist in the early 60s trap grouse (and box and ship them) from Black Mountain in Harlan County to trade to other states for deer and turkey to import to Ky. Whole southern mountain grouse slow extinction breaks my heart.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  3. carnivore

    carnivore 12 pointer

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    I followed along over the years but (outside of my condolences) never had much to contribute. Sad story, but still hope to see something turn around.
    At minimum, i hope other states with healthy populations learn from what happened here, and can prevent the same from happening there. Perhaps they would find value in this information and help fund research (independent of the KDFWR) assuming grouse hunting is profitable for them.
    Also i apologize Bee, if i took this thread for a detour but i think its worth noting non-grouse hunters should be concerned. Turkey, Elk, rabbit, squirrel, fish, and even deer populations are vulnerable to future environmental changes and mismanagement as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  4. ribsplitter

    ribsplitter Cyber-Hunter

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    I'm glad that I got to enjoy the sport of hunting appalachian ruffed grouse. It's sad that younger generations won't have a clue about one of the most challenging games around. As stated above by Bee, kdfwr was warned by many grouse hunters with more knowledge of the species, gained by boot leather, than a lifetime of books can teach. The warnings started in the early 2000's with a drastic drop around the fringe of their territory and 7-8 years later hitting the big mountain ranges in the core of their home range. Thinking of the arrogant responses I received from kdfwr biologists at the time still pisses me of to no end. The only hope I see is if another agency can figure out what has happened and possibly help the species. Putting faith in kdfwr to manage wildlife is definitely a losing proposition.
     
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  5. luvtohunt

    luvtohunt 10 pointer

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    Haven't seen a grouse since I moved to Pulaski County 16 years ago. Prior to that lived and hunted in Knott county. Jumped 1 or 2 a year there rabbit hunting in my teenage years. Killed a few back then but none since. Still hunt a lot in this area deer, rabbit, and turkey as well as spend a lot of time on the water fishing and haven't heard a single bird drum or flushed a bird for that matter. Covered some decent habitat too chasing cotton tails.
     
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  6. Munson

    Munson 12 pointer

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    Something I wander about is the new tick species that have took over the last 10yrs or so it seems like. If they contract west Nile from skeeters what's to say they can't contract one of several diseases ticks carry??
    Idk just spitballing here trying to think of something that relates to the timeline of their decline. Do they have deer/seed ticks up north in the heart of grouse country?
     
  7. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

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    munson--had to believe but there are, to my observation, a lot more deer ticks and seed ticks in the north than i recall seeing here in southern appalachia. fwiw
     
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  8. ribsplitter

    ribsplitter Cyber-Hunter

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    I concur ..
     
  9. bgkyarcher

    bgkyarcher 12 pointer

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    I've turkey hunted in Perry/Breathitt counties for 2-4 days in 2016, 17, 18. I saw or heard grouse drumming at least once each of those trips. All in the Flint Ridge area..... Those are the only grouse I've ever seen/heard.
     
  10. KY Swamp Beagler

    KY Swamp Beagler 12 pointer

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    the swamps of western KY
    I live in far western KY so no grouse. We haven’t flushed a covey of quail in probably 15 years. We used to at least flush one a year rabbit hunting.

    We really started having ticks bad in the early 90s.
     
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  11. bgkyarcher

    bgkyarcher 12 pointer

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    BG
    Quail disappearance coincided with the turkey population appearance...............
     
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  12. JR in KY

    JR in KY 12 pointer

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    So, are you saying the Turkeys eat the Quail Eggs or what?
     
  13. HappyHunter

    HappyHunter 10 pointer

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    Wasn’t there some research in PA or WV pointing to west Nile as a culprit in chick mortality?

    I used to chase them in DBNF about twice a year. We used to hunt in the Hoosier National Forest years ago and flushed quite a few. IN doesn’t even have a season anymore. Damn shame.
     
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  14. Munson

    Munson 12 pointer

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    So much for my theory then...
    Heck Turkey #s aren't near what they was in the 90s- early 20s around here either FWIW
     
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  15. Lucky Dog

    Lucky Dog Spike

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    It was my last day to grouse hunt for the year and was bittersweet as I havested a grouse over point. It was a point with one of my old dogs that may have been his last point and my young female. Beautiful point, classic flush and while I try to let them fly to breed this was just too good an opportunity. For the past 3 years I have generally let them go but this was in a spot where I moved three earlier. I do not know if leaving them helps as much as I would like to think. Three years ago I left 5 birds in an area and 4 in another area and the next two years I find nothing.
    I believe that ticks might be a problem as I don't believe the lone star tick is widespread up north. If you have ever been covered in their larvae(turkey mites)you should be thankful as they are like chiggers on steroids and take forever to get relief. If these infected young chicks I could see a real problem. Deer ticks are unbelievable in the winter as I and my dogs have the welts to show from them. I started noticing this rise in the early 2000's about the same time as West Nile erupted. Crow numbers appear to be on the upswing.
    As I stated quail numbers and turkey numbers are on just as steep a decline. Thus the need for research to see if common links exist. We need support as I mentioned earlier for this to happen so contact Senators, Representatives Fish and Wildlife staff. RGS personnel to express your beliefs in this research approach. It is about the only hope outside on intervention from our Maker for something good to happen. You can't grow corn without seed and seed is needed for grouse, quail, and turkey as well as other ground nesting birds.
    I write a weekly outdoor column for a couple of papers and plan for an upcoming article on the state of upland birds in Appalachia. You can email me if you would like a copy when it is finished and would be something good to circulate to all concerned.
    On a positive note my dogs had a god day with two more what I thought to be grouse points and points on several woodcock passing through. I am amazed at how good my young female does given that she has had less wild bird contact than any of my previous seventeen English Setters.
     
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