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UP Sharptail Grouse Relocation Projects

Discussion in 'General Michigan Hunting' started by Luv2hunteup, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Thirty pointer

    Thirty pointer

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    Imo planting any game birds is a waste of time until a plan to greatly reduce egg eaters is put in place .There hasn't been any grouse or pheasants or woodcock in this region for many years .Tons of raccoon though .
     
  2. Cork Dust

    Cork Dust

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    If you know where they are that abundant, you could always go out and trap them. A lot of fur buyers will pay for raccoon "in the round".
     

  3. Thirty pointer

    Thirty pointer

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    Got 23 last year on my property guy down the road got 15 .Unless there is interest like there used to be more raccoon will just move in .There are just too many .
     
  4. Biggbear

    Biggbear

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    I had no idea the State was working on this plan, and think it's great. I'm disappointed to hear the Tribe's aren't on board. For what it's worth, I'll contact our Tribe Biologist and ask him what the reason is. I'll report back what I find out.
     
  5. Duckiller

    Duckiller

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    How has Michigan eliminated wildfires? California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana would really like to know. Last fall California had its largest wildfire ever and then in January we had mudslides as a result of the fire. Another 7-10 years before we recover from the fire. It did make a good fuel break.
     
  6. Cork Dust

    Cork Dust

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    We opted to live in a state surrounded by a little over 20% of the world's fresh surface water. This location lends some valuable meteorological side-effects. Add-in a little good ole northern latitude in combination to give us lake effect mediated snows and rain events at timely intervals.

    A great deal of California's issues are human mediated and human density related.
     
  7. Forest Meister

    Forest Meister

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    Cork Dust pretty much covered it. Adding to that, our topography is generally much flatter so uphill runs are minimal. Our forests are generally what a lot of wildland firefighters out here refer to as "asbestos", the hardwoods east of the Mississippi do not support the crown fires that are so devastating and uncontrollable in the conifers out west. We get a few spring and fall fires in our Michigan hardwoods but they are generally surface fires of very limited acreage that do little long term damage.

    What does burn, and burn with a vengeance, is our jack pine timber type. These areas tend to be located on our driest, sandiest areas. Although locally significant, in the big picture of things the total JP acreage does not make up a high percentage of the forest.

    Back in the day this state had a lot of white and red pine which were liquidated over a relatively short time to build the large cities of the Midwest. Without today's firefighting capabilities the slash caught fire and burned until Mother Nature put it out. Those large hot burns opened the door to some outstanding prairie chicken and sharptailed grouse habitat in the first half of the last century. FM
     
  8. WAUB-MUKWA

    WAUB-MUKWA

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    Never got into the yellow pine that looks too dry out West. Always looks sterile and too hot. I don't think I could ever live out there. Bad enough walking through the JP of the Huron Manistee national forest when it's 90 degrees and hot and dry.
     
    zig likes this.
  9. Duckiller

    Duckiller

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    Don't want to argue about forest fires but when I was working our local Forest Service people let a proscribed brn get out of control. Burned a couple thousand acres and resulted in a good fuel break. Spring fires tend to get rid of old trash. At the same time the US Forest Service in Michigan lit a proscribed burn. It got away from, them. Took out about 500+/- cabins and most of the Kirkland Warbler habitat. You will not have the mudslides and rock movement that the west has but your trees and shrubs will burn . Smokey Bear needs you to be careful with fire in the forest. I grew up in Michigan. hen I was growing up large portions of the upper parts of the LP had signs of major fires. Uncles took me trout fishing above the Soo in Canada. We would just touch the edge of a 1948 fire that caused the lights to be turned on for a Sunday day game in Cleveland. If the Forest Service and/or the DNR talk about proscribed burns, listen to them and check out what they propose. You really don't want a wildfire in August after a very dry spring and summer. I wish you all well and lots of rain. I like to come back and visit green instead of brown or black.
     
  10. Biggbear

    Biggbear

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    I heard back from the Biologist from the Sault Tribe and wanted to pass on the information I was given.

    First the Sault Tribe is not opposed to sharp-tail grouse restoration efforts, but they did raise some concerns with the DNR over the plan.

    Their main concern was that if this plan was to move forward the Tribe felt there should be a health evaluation of the birds being moved. Apparently West Nile Virus in Pennsylvania has been impacting ruffed grouse populations there dramatically. The Tribe wanted there to be assurances that healthy birds were being moved so disease wasn't spread through this program.

    The Tribe did mention moving birds from the 1836 treaty area, to outside the treaty area, but at the numbers being discussed at this juncture it is a non-issue. The Tribe brought it up more for future reference in the event that this program is expanded, and the number of birds being moved potentially becomes substantially greater.

    In a nutshell those were the concerns raised with the DNR. The Sault Ste Marie Tribe did not oppose the program, simply raised some questions and concerns for consideration and discussion. Let me also add that the info above only relates to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe, I have no information regarding what other Tribes involved in the Consent Decree may voiced as concerns or issues, or their position regarding this program.
     
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  11. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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    FWIW west Nile has been killing UP grouse too.
     
  12. Thirty pointer

    Thirty pointer

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    Big drop in ruffed grouse behind the cabin .Haven't seen a sharptail for years now .
     
  13. Biggbear

    Biggbear

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    I guess we must be lucky at our place in Charlevoix county. I did some reading on the subject after hearing from the Biologist, I wasn't aware this was becoming such an issue. We haven't seen much fluctuation over the last few years. I guess after a long winter I'm now hoping for a drier than normal spring and summer. Maybe fewer mosquitoes would help the situation?
     
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  14. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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    Press release today.


    April 19, 2018
    Media contact: John Pepin, 906-226-1352

    Wintry conditions postpone UP sharp-tailed grouse release

    Release of birds to western part of the region postponed until spring

    A sharp-tailed grouse decoy is shown.
    Prolonged wintry conditions in the Upper Peninsula have forced the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to postpone a release of sharp-tailed grouse in the western part of the region – a place where they have not been seen reliably since the mid-1990s.
    DNR wildlife biologists had planned to capture about 20 birds from the eastern U.P. and re-introduce them to Ontonagon County this spring. However, late winter snowfall and a persistent groundcover of snow, as deep as 3 feet in some places, have delayed the effort until next spring.
    “We have been working diligently to get our team in place to capture and re-release these birds, but at this point, we are concerned about likely low survival and poor nesting success of birds relocated under these extreme conditions,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “We will continue to monitor and survey sharp-tailed grouse populations in the eastern U.P. in advance of completing our relocation effort next spring.”
    Sharp-tailed grouse are ground-oriented birds – about a third larger than a ruffed grouse – with long and pointed feathers in the center of their tails, which males point upward during mating displays, giving the bird its name.

    Their heads are somewhat crested. Males have purple neck patches which they expose during courtship displays. Females are covered in barring of brown, white and black.

    In Michigan, sharp-tailed grouse were first documented on Isle Royale in 1888. The birds were widespread across the U.P. after the logging era, when wildfires opened-up the landscape.

    At one point, sharp-tailed grouse were numerous in the western U.P., where it is presumed they had expanded their population east from Wisconsin. However, as the habitat changed in succession over time from grasslands to forests, their numbers dropped.

    “Sharp-tailed grouse are birds of fields and grasslands,” said David Jentoft, a DNR wildlife biologist in Sault Ste. Marie. “They are best suited to areas with open land, like portions of the Chippewa and Mackinac counties in the eastern U.P., where a limited hunting season was re-established in 2010.”

    A male sharp-tailed grouse is shown.
    Currently, the highest sharp-tailed grouse population levels in the U.P. are found in Chippewa and Schoolcraft counties.
    Michigan Natural Resources Commissioner J.R. Richardson of Ontonagon has been a strong proponent of reintroducing sharp-tailed grouse to the western U.P., with a hopeful eye on eventual hunting opportunities.
    “In our continuing quest to develop activities to get the folks and kids out-of-doors, we asked the DNR staff to give us some options on sharp-tail in the western U.P.,” Richardson said. “They came up with a plan to live trap and transport a few from our eastern neighbors with staff and partners. We are excited to watch this unfold and re-establish these birds on our end of the peninsula. It worked with turkeys, when the odds were against them with our snowfall and temperature ranges.”
    Michigan has the farthest east hunting season for sharp-tailed grouse in the nation.
    How successful the re-introduction effort will be is unclear, given the habitat challenges and potential issues inherent to any wildlife re-introduction attempt.
    Students from Michigan State University have built traps for the sharp-tailed grouse. Decoys have been acquired by the DNR to help attract the birds. Private landowners have helped by granting access to their properties.
    Additional partners, including the Michigan Sharp-tailed Grouse Association and the Ruffed Grouse Society of Michigan, have also been involved in the effort.
     
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  15. Forest Meister

    Forest Meister

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    That's because I haven't been down to wipe them out! FM
     
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