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Thread: Goodbye Southern Ontario Ruffed Grouse?

  1. #1
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    Default Goodbye Southern Ontario Ruffed Grouse?

    I've just travelled 59km on my fat bike through my traditional grouse hunting haunts near Kinmount/Minden area. Much of it is through good to excellent grouse habitat where I've harvested hundreds of birds in the past 45 years of hunting. My total bird count was zero! Not even one single bird was flushed or seen. Incredible! It's literally extirpation of the species.
    Back in the early 90's I would have seen at least 25 birds, even in poor years. I would mark 1994 -1996 as the last "half decent" hunting years where you could expect to get five or six birds with a dog in about four hours of hunting. Now you can hunt for four hours and not even fire a shot. Last December I looked for budding birds after the first snows and I might have seen three birds in total for 50+ hours of travel. There would have easily been 120+ birds in an effort like this back in the early nineties. West Nile is all I can figure , from reading all the literature. It's not habitat degeneration and it's not hunting pressure. Now my area has lousy waterfowl hunting and non-existent grouse hunting. Time to move north of Gogama/Timmins? I feel bad for my poor black Lab. I'll have to drive eight hours north now if I want him to pick up a few birds during the season.

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  3. #2
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    Birds of any kind seem scarce.

  4. #3
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    Must be a local thing as seeing more birds than last year and some young ones to boot. Picked up 2 road kills north west of Barrie and North east of Beaverton regularly been flushing grouse however getting close is a different story.
    Time in the outdoors is never wasted

  5. #4
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    South end of 55B - same thing. Almost non-existent. The last 3-4 years were pretty bad. This year takes it to a whole new level. Lots of wild grapes and haw berries. No grouse.

  6. #5
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    we see the same 2 or 3 birds in 73 in one of our deer spots just about every time we sit for the past 3 years but they are pretty scarce. even up on the islands in Georgian Bay near my parents the numbers are way down

  7. #6
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    Management of our wildlife( small and big game), and its habitat, is horrendous in Onatrio !

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    Same up at my place last week I saw one one bird near the cabin and nothing in the bush. Talking to a friend about this the other day and he blames the demise on the grouse on our very healthy TURKEY population. It appears that Turkeys are not very particular in what they eat and everything is fair game they can take. So raiding grouse nests would appear to be pretty easy pickings.

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    I can’t believe I’ve heard nothing from OMNR on the serious state of the species. The numbers are so low in north WMU75 and 60 that IMO the season should be closed to protect the few remaining birds. Maybe it’s time to write a letter as there is a massive elephant in the room and Omnr is saying nothing. Looks like I’ll be driving seven hours north after the deer hunt to get a few birds!

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilroy View Post
    Same up at my place last week I saw one one bird near the cabin and nothing in the bush. Talking to a friend about this the other day and he blames the demise on the grouse on our very healthy TURKEY population. It appears that Turkeys are not very particular in what they eat and everything is fair game they can take. So raiding grouse nests would appear to be pretty easy pickings.
    I've heard this theory as well - backed by the evidence that grouse populations are not doing badly further north, beyond the range of wild turkeys. No evidence that the two are related thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenelon View Post
    I can’t believe I’ve heard nothing from OMNR on the serious state of the species. The numbers are so low in north WMU75 and 60 that IMO the season should be closed to protect the few remaining birds. Maybe it’s time to write a letter as there is a massive elephant in the room and Omnr is saying nothing. Looks like I’ll be driving seven hours north after the deer hunt to get a few birds!
    MNRF's position is that grouse populations are not affected significantly by hunting - that's why the seasons and limits don't change in the face of declining populations. I would tend to agree with the MNR on this. Aside from the possible turkey depredation, other significant predators are hawks - but there is no way MNRF or environment Canada is going to allow anyone to do anything about this, and racoons. The problem is definitely not loss of habitat though. Thousands of acres of prime grouse cover, no birds.

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