Winter survival outlook for deer, pheasants looks good


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RGS in the News

The original article Winter survival outlook for deer, pheasants looks good on the StarTribune website by Tony Kennedy as posted on February 9, 2016 at 11:52PM focuses on white-tailed deer and ring-necked pheasants but includes the below information about ruffed grouse at the end.

From the original article:

The mild winter, so far, should help more deer and pheasants survive. But it could still turn nasty.


For ruffed grouse, warmer temperatures have been a refuge from poor snow cover, said Meadow Kouffeld-Hansen, upland bird biologist for the Ruffed Grouse Society. The birds survive winter in part by using snow as insulation. Roosting under 8 to 10 inches of fluffy snow is ideal, but this year's snowfalls have been light and usually followed by freezing rain, Kouffeld-Hansen said.

The crusting makes it difficult for grouse to burrow into the snow and escape it for daily foraging. With milder temperatures, grouse have been able to roost in the alternate cover of conifer trees, she said.

Kouffeld-Hansen said the grouse population wasn't strong entering winter, evidenced by a low fall harvest. She said a warm, dry spring with just a little rain would help the birds rebound.

"We are at the low end of the population cycle … hoping for a turnaround," Kouffeld-Hansen said.

Read the entire article.

Mission Statement

Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is North America's foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices.

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