[CT Birds] State response to Rough Grouse

David Provencher davidprovencher at sbcglobal.net
Sat Mar 9 14:52:27 EST 2013

Being an idealist, If I had my druthers Kathy I'd say yes. But here is my
opinion why it might work against the future of Ruffed Grouse in CT. Much of
the hunting community looks at birders in a less than complimentary way, and
the reverse is true for many birder's opinion of hunters. I absolutely do
not want to see that situation debated on CTBirds however, emotions and
problem solving rarely mix well. I know when I'm hot under the collar I make
stupid decisions! Okay, not just when I'm angry. So given there is less than
a warm relationship between the two communities, it is unlikely an imposed
moratorium is going to be received well by the hunting community. It is more
likely going to be perceived as the thin tip of the wedge of more
restrictions driven by birders coming down the road. I also believe we are
already at the point where recovery in CT must include mostly transported or
hacked birds. The empirical evidence of breeding bird surveys and Christmas
Count data, combined with my own anecdotal evidence of hiking many hundreds
of miles across the CT landscape since last I encountered a Ruffed Grouse or
their tracks, leads me believe we have so few left that the existing
population is too small to recover, even with significant habitat
management, in a reasonable time if at all.


If a coalition of hunters and conservationists jointly recommended a
temporary cessation of harvesting, combined with habitat management, that
would be a different thing. That would not be without its critics in the
hunting community but it would be a much better approach. It would also get
real attention in the legislature. It would be perceived as: If birders and
hunters agree, there must be a real crises! There are many examples of avian
species rebounding in the US and a great many of those successes were
wrought with a large (or very large) contribution from the hunting
community. Now I know birders and hunters will always have many differing
opinions on many issues, but we have worked together for our mutual benefit
in the past and we can in the future. I believe sometimes we have to accept
certain things in the short term  that we would rather not accept in order
to achieve the best result in the long term. I think there is one
fundamental truth here, that the future of Ruffed Grouse in CT is tied to
long term habitat management. The birding community is unlikely to achieve
that acting unilaterally.  


Dave Provencher

Naturally New England


From: Kathy Van Der Aue [mailto:kathyvda at gmail.com] 
Sent: Saturday, March 09, 2013 2:16 PM
To: David Provencher
Cc: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] State response to Rough Grouse


But don't you, Dave, Pat and others think that at least a temporary hunting
moritorium on our own home-grown Connecticut Grouse would be a good thing,
while the habitat recovers?  Why should we import Grouse in the future when
we might salvage our own?  I'm sad that we no longer have Bobwhite native in
Connecticut.  Some escaped caged grown bird just doesn't make it for me.  I
would hate to see the Ruffed Grouse follow that path.  I do believe the
Christmas Count indicates a real problem here, possibly one that we don't
have time to solve by habitat resoration and hope for the best, whil;e
hunters blast away.  


Kathy Van Der Aue
Southport, Connecticut

Visit my Blog at http://naturaliststable.wordpress.com


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