[CT Birds] Our State should be ashamed of itself!!!

kmueller at ntplx.net kmueller at ntplx.net
Fri Oct 31 13:04:33 EDT 2014

Paul (and others concerned about Grouse hunting), I appreciate your  
concern for the Grouse, just as I do as a (former) bird hunter (former  
in the sense of too many projects and no time to go). But I think  
before you jump all over the State Biologists as being "incompetent"  
or "cavalier" about the health of the Ruffed Grouse population, we  
might want to think about what the real factors are....remember all we  
have to base our passions on is a few personal and non-scientific bird  
counts. I have to say, that in my experiences over the years knowing  
many Wildlife Biologists and Conservation Officers in many States
I don't think we are giving them enough credit. It has been my  
experience that these people give a tremendous amount of thought  
behind the "hunting regulations and seasons" from many sources from  
data to their own research.

We have to also consider the facts that just because there is a  
"limit" attached to a bird species does not make any assumption that  
this number of birds on that daily/season limit are being taken. I  
have lived this passionate argument all my life.....everyone assumes  
that hunters just willingly shoot the posted limits everyday as easy  
as making coffee and lacing up your hunting boots. First, you have to  
understand the nature of the bird being pursued. Grouse are  
notoriously the most difficult bird to hunt in the Northeast.....in  
fact, they are nearly impossible to bag! I laugh (to myself) about the  
listed 8 bird daily bag limit in the printed regulations.....where in  
fact even the most seasoned "grouse hunters" will barely manage that  
number in an entire season or two; they are that difficult a species  
to hunt. I can only tell you about my many years of long walks in  
Grouse cover "hearing" the roaring thunder of those wings when they  
take off which is usually in the distance up in a tree, or behind the  
thick cedar trees.....NEVER even giving the hunter a look at its  
magnificent plumage.

I am not a Biologist, maybe Min can answer this, but it is possible  
with the high degree of difficulty in the probability of bagging one  
of these birds may be figured into the bag limits. I don't know of ANY  
grouse hunter (and I know MANY) who is so successful to take a daily  
bag limit on this species....in fact its rare to hear of anyone even  
taking two in one day in a months time! Usually its one or two for the  
season. And to add to this, every grouse hunter I know is satisfied  
with one or two birds for the season......they don't want to shoot a  
limit! I think printed bag limits are quite misleading, and be assured  
that mostly they inflame passions. Just because its written, don't  
assume that it is happening.....there is a great distance between a  
number bag limit and reality. Ruffed Grouse are a very secretive, shy,  
wary and difficult bird to find. They are not willing to hang around  
waiting for someone to find and count them. Just because they are not  
being seen, doesn't mean they aren't there!

Believe me, this species is on the State's radar!

Good Birding,

Keith Mueller
Killingworth, CT

Quoting Carrier Graphics via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>:

> Once again I am disgusted at the State
> of Connecticut's hunting rules and limits on the season for Ruffed
> Grouse. Do they even LOOK at the statistics for the prey species that
> they allow to be taken? !!!
> For the year 2014, from October 18 to November 29, the Ruffed Grouse
> open season allows each hunter to bag 8, yes Eight – Ruffed
> Grouse!!!!!  That is 8 Ruffed Grouse that would be taken (BY EACH
> HUNTER)!  that have NO chance of helping to re establish this
> vanishing bird from our State! Case in point...
> During this
> Summer's Bird Count here in CT for the year 2014 compiled by  the
> Connecticut Ornithological Association, the number of Ruffed Grouse
> counted was – ONE !!!! Yes ONE GROUSE was counted out of 251
> observers in 146 parties searching for 1,409 HOURS! Do you (or the
> State of CONNECTICUT) think the Ruffed Grouse might possibly be a
> species in TROUBLE? When I asked the State about this, saying “ Can
> the State take the Ruffed Grouse off the hunting list till they come
> back to a healthy and stable population?” Their answer was “ Well
> the hawks take their share as well, why can't we? UN BELIEVABLE!
> Please call, write or e mail the State and make your opinion count to
> try and help bring back this vanishing birds chances to once again
> populate our State in healthy numbers. Hunters should only cull from
> a species with a healthy population. I don't think that's the case
> with Ruffed Grouse here in CT.
> GROUSE counted from 251 PEOPLE SEARCHING FOR 1,409 HOURS! Our State's
> wildlife department should be ashamed of itself !
> Paul Carrier -
> Harwinton
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