- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota’s ruffed grouse population appears to be on the upswing again, based on a recently completed hunt held annually near Grand Rapids.

The Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/2f0bejX) reports that the results showed a 17 percent increase in the rate hunters shot grouse during the Oct. 13-14 hunt compared to last year. That figure nearly mirrors the 18 percent increase in the state’s ruffed grouse drumming count index logged in the spring.

Those two measures - hunters killing birds in the fall, and volunteers listening for wing-beating in the spring - have paralleled each other for years, helping cement evidence for the roughly 10-year population cycles that ruffed grouse in Minnesota follow.

The Department of Natural Resources estimates that up to about 95,000 people hunt grouse in Minnesota.

The increases reported by the Ruffed Grouse Society show grouse are on the upswing. The rate of hunter success, averaging about 0.86 grouse per day, is the fourth-lowest rate in the 35-year history of the event.

In 2014, the DNR estimated about 288,000 grouse were killed, the lowest point in the cycle. In 2010, an estimated 466,000 birds were shot. Agency officials say no studies have shown that hunting, under its current regulations, has a meaningful effect on grouse population levels.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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