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Grouse cycle in MN?


Cooter

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Hey guys - was curious where MN's grouse cycle is at, or was at last fall. I hunt in west central WI and know it was horrible last fall. So bad that I only hunted them once. I was baiting bears at least every other day and saw so few grouse it was sad. The agricultural areas seem to hold better than large forested tracts.

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Well it they(dnr) thought it was at the bottom last year, so they were a little surprised to see worse numbers on the counts this year. Either way we are either at the bottom of the cycle or very close to it.

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In my opinion we are going to be going back up if we aren't already. Last year I had a substantially higher flush count than I did the previous year. This years numbers are going to be a little skewed I think because of the cool spring. I think the breeding took place a little later than it normally does. Drumming numbers aren't everything either, if you put in your time and do your homework, you will find grouse.

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DNR was off on their counts i heard from one of their interns. The bad spring is what threw them off. With the cold weather and rain almost statewide when they did there count. Supposedly I started grouse hunting on the worst year, 3 years ago, but we still got a few and saw triple that. the year after that we saw at least 30 and got maybe 10 but last year we saw 40+ and got about the same maybe less of the year before. So personally i think its going up, these people that say its going down could just be in a highly pressured area with lots of hunters. Or they could be hunting the wrong time of year, etc. Many factors are involved in getting an accurate DNR and personal count, these need to be considered before saying "Grouse are Down"!

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What is everyones personal opinion on the grouse in there areas. And where that area is so we could compare the different spots. Not looking for anyone to give away there secret spots, but just the general area of where they hunt. We could possibly composit our own analysis of the state. Mine as mentioned above was a slight increase over the last two years, about 30 give or take the year before last and around 40 seen last year... I am in the general facinity of Southern St. Louis county.
Thanks for input guys!!!

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North Central, 2 years ago all I saw were big and I mean BIG brown phase birds..really,really, smart also and only saw a couple. last year actully shot 1st grouse in 2-3 years and kicked up a bunch more and couldn't get a bead on (yeah, all the excuses lol). I personally think they are going up in my areas, not great but steady, as usual the better cover/habitat is holding birds and marginal is not.

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The numbers around EC WI were low last year, but should be slowly gaining. I think it'll be a couple years before the good ol day I remember are back. I only hunted one day last year because I saw so few grouse between bear baiting/hunting and deer hunting.

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Iron Range: Up near Lake Vermilion and north up to Crane lake is looking very good for this year, or at least very good compared to last couple of years. I've seen lots of birds while just driving around. We actually had a covey of 6 in our yard last weekend in Cook. I've also heard a lot of drumming up in Orr, while working at the shack. All in all guys, I think we should get some more shooting in this year than in years past. The deep snow really helped pick up the population this past winter. they actually had a place to hide for a change. Good Luck this fall people!

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I hunt the Northhome area. It has been probably 4 years since we had an exceptional grouse hunt. Last year we did very well for the time we put in. It was my personal best grouse shooting. I hit 7 out of 8 birds that got up in front of me. We only really hunted for one day and had 15 birds between 5 guys hunting. I personally feel like we are on the upswing of the cycle.

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Thanks for some input guys! It really helps some of us ansy hunters pass time with only a few months left. Im lubing up the guns as we speek. Cant wait ill be able to hunt on my own this year. Yes i am only 16 but know alot about grouse. Its been my life for the last 3 years day in and day out. I personally hope to be doing this for the rest of my life!!!( Fishing on the side)Lol!!!
The Kid

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Grouse hunting is my favorite of all activities. When the numbers are down as they have been you have to go to the very best areas of the state and best cover to get into birds. I don't even bother hunting some areas in the state when it's low unless I'm there for something else. As an example my inlaws live near ######### and the last couple of years I could not find one bird where I normally would on good years. It's similar to chasing the snow in snowmobiling.

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Hey guys! Well good year for grouse in my area(St. Louis)county that is. Well cant wait couple weeks. Gotta get out and shoot.Grouse are up so it should be a good year!!!

------------------
Fish all day, Hunt all night!

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