Grouse hunters that saw the good old days.....

Discussion in 'Small Game Hunting' started by msu_hunter, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. Birdman

    Birdman Cyber-Hunter

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    Feb 26, 2002
    Paintsville, KY, USA.
    I don't think that's the way that'll go but you never know. If they do, the sportsmen, league and Ky. grouse hunters will remind them of the studies done in past years.

    I maybe wrong but I think this guy (commissioner Johnson) is a long time hunter and knows what it takes to have grouse and other species (quail, rabitt, etc) what I see as his biggest hold up is getting his top staff headed in the right direction and at the rate of speed they need to be. If this happens the field people will do a bang up job, IF they have the equipment and man power to work with.

    Sialia, what year during the study did we have plenty of birds and what is your fillings why we had that number of birds?

    I was talking with a friend today and he attended an outdoor show (one of the northern states that alot of us hunt) and spoke with that states grouse biologist. They got to talking about Ky. and why we don't have birds, the biologist reply was, THEY DON'T CUT TREES AND WHEN THEY DO, THEY DON'T CUT ENOUGH. That should tell us something.

    Bee, will you be attending the banquet?
     
  2. trust me

    trust me Troubled Loner

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    Nov 27, 2004
    Jerkwater, KY
    We need a paper mill. Plain and simple. Somebody go round us up one. The bio-fuel electric plant in Hazard may help if it ever happens.
     
  3. Sialia67

    Sialia67 6 pointer

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    Sep 4, 2008
    Rowan County
    The year we had birds on top of birds during the study was Fall 2001. The reason was a heavy beechnut crop the previous fall/winter of 2000-01. Beechnuts still littered the ground into the spring turkey season of 2001. First, survival was high that winter of the beechnuts because the birds did not have to move around to find food. Second, the beechnuts gave the hens more than enough energy to re-nest if they lost the first clutch to predators. Appalachian grouse rarely re-nest, but they sure did in spring 2001 thereby adding a lot more young birds to the fall population that would not have been there otherwise.
     
  4. grousec

    grousec 6 pointer

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    Jan 15, 2009
    mt sterling ky
    I started grouse hunting in the mid 1970's bought my first bird dog in 1973. Grouse were in good numbers then and into the mid 2000's. But I really believe over all the best hunting was prior to 2000. during the 1980-1990's I never really counted the flushes but I recall in 1983 one Sunday after church sliding a bell o my setter at 1:45 and had 21 points and grouse were there in 19 of the 21. I shot my limit in that half day hunting as I had an opportunity to do along with my hunting pardner every time out. (Not saying that to brag but to give an idea as to how many more birds there were back then). Yes indeed no atvs, hawks, owls, yotes, fox, turkeys, deer, elk , skunk, possum, bobcats, west nile virus, ventricular worms, and no trailers or homes in every hollow indeed! There is cutting today but not enough especially in national forest. JMO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  5. hitch

    hitch 10 pointer

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    Jan 16, 2008
    Last year we had the largest beech nut mast I've ever seen, you could scoop them up by the handfuls around every tree. Most of turkey season the turkeys were still feeding on them there were so many. We were blessed with a fairly warm/spring and our grouse numbers have plummeted this year.
     
  6. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

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    Mar 14, 2005
    Ronnie-Having some eye surgery late in the month and can't travel. Be there in spirit.
     
  7. Sialia67

    Sialia67 6 pointer

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    Sep 4, 2008
    Rowan County
    The "Beechnut Bump" that we witnessed in 2001 has not been reproduced. I expected a big increase in 2009 as well after a heavy beechnut crop in the fall of 2008. Weather during the peak hatch time in the spring of 2009 was about as bad as it could get. Cool temps and a lot of rain equaled dead grouse chicks. Some of us did see more birds in 2009 as I recall, but it still wasn't remotely comparable to 2001. I don't know why the grouse population failed to respond this year. I wish we had a better understanding of what drives populations to spike in some counties in 2003-04 and in other counties in 2006-07 while other areas see average or below average numbers at the same time.
     
  8. hitch

    hitch 10 pointer

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    Jan 16, 2008
    I am starting to wonder how these past couple of rough winters are impacting the birds. Many of the covers I hunt lack hemlocks and pines, and I wonder if that isn't allowing predation to be very high, where on the older strip mines there was good stands of pines mixed with the briars and pole timber. However, about the time I start blaming cold winters I think back to 3 years ago when we had the really mild winter and the population didn't exactly explode following that year either, it didn't plummet but it didn't increase much either.

    I along with the guys I hunt with are baffled as I have said at what has changed since the mid 2000's where we hunt. There is vastly more habitat now then there was then, and part of me wonders if the birds are just really spread out now, where they used to be more concentrated, and over time they will fill in.
     
  9. bgkyarcher

    bgkyarcher 12 pointer

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    Aug 23, 2011
    BG
    Growing up in Glasgow, we did not have the opportunity for grouse. I have never hunted them, and regret that. However, I find this thread fascinating.
     
  10. Side-by-side

    Side-by-side Fawn

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    Dec 18, 2011
    I have really enjoyed reading this thread keep the stories coming. IMO if we all work together and support Ronnie and the KGHA we might get to see the good old days come back. I have also hunted grouse for over 25 years and in the last three have not even thought about hunting in Ky. I would love to see the birds come back.
     
  11. crossfire

    crossfire 8 pointer

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    Jun 13, 2006
    Mayfield, Ky
    Wow; never considered myself a "gray beard" until I read this, but you're right! At 46, I also remember the good ol' days when my best spot produced 20-25 flushes a day by 12-15 different birds. It was a COMPLETE clear-cut of 110 acres with plenty of wild grape and honeysuckle-choked draws on the outskirts of the clear-cut, with 30 acres of young, thick yellow pine and cedar on an adjoining hillside where we always flew birds during a snow. As the clear-cut and pines matured after 25 years, the grouse either moved to find more suitable habitat, or became dinner for a hungry fox, hawk, name your predator. Dad had a company to log 65-70 acres directly behind him a few years ago. Last year at Christmas, I took my dogs in with me and on a hunch, hit the mountain behind Dad's for a hunt. Killed 2 birds on 3 flushes and caught myself wondering if these were the last Appalachian grouse I would ever kill as I don't live in the grouse range any longer and other than western KY quail, only get to scratch my grouse itch in Michigan once a year.
     
  12. polecatcustoms

    polecatcustoms Sponsor

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    Aug 6, 2013
    Paris Ky
    Would increased turkey numbers have and affect on a decrease in grouse population? They do compete for the same habitat and food sources...Just wondering.
     
  13. zslinker

    zslinker Spike

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    Mar 13, 2008
    morehead, ky
    I am by no means as experienced in grouse hunting as most of you guys are. This is only my third season afield with my setter, so when I find 4-5 birds in a day I'm tickled pink because I never got to experience "the good ol' days". I have been fortunate enough to have a good dog and better teachers to show me the ins and outs otherwise i may not be as addicted as i am. IMO the snow that is covering most of Kentucky's grouse zone couldn't have come at a better time. Over the next week most of the east is going to experience temperatures plummeting into the negatives, this snow will provide good thermal cover "snow roosts" which in turn will help conserve fat reserves and hopefully give most of our birds a fighting chance through the week, and into breeding season in good health.
     
  14. Birdman

    Birdman Cyber-Hunter

    3,669
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    Feb 26, 2002
    Paintsville, KY, USA.
    In 2001 my area of the grouse zone increased some but nothing like the study area did. The northern states have the same thing, this past year according to their drum count, the western zone of the U.P. was lower than the year before while the eastern zone was up. The spring weather plays a very important part. Even from county to county, take hitch for example he's found birds in good number the last few years while the central and northen parts of the grouse zone very low. When we have enough habitat across the grouse zone to maintain grouse in good numbers we will still have areas higher and lower that other areas within the zone due to weather in those areas. But we will have grouse in good numbers once again when the habitat is on the ground.
     
  15. hitch

    hitch 10 pointer

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    Jan 16, 2008
    We have plenty of turkeys, but generally the turkeys aren't in the same areas where I grouse hunt. This year I only am seeing turkey sign when I'm well away from grouse habitat, and usually around white oaks.

    With that said last year there were no acorns, and the turkeys wound up scavenging for the same greens the grouse feed on and could have an impact if we didn't have so much grouse habitat that is full of food, and enough for both.

    The one species which has destroyed some of the covers I used to hunt are the Elk. They have decimated areas where they live and I wish they would vanish.
     

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