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I was going over my notes getting my grouse/woodcock cooperator report ready to send to Al Steward and I realized I didn't get a red phase this year. Plus the guys I hunt with (at least when they hunted with me) only got one and it was a young of the year with short tail feathers. The areas I hunt we don't see a lot of reds but this years was the worst.
 

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The seminal book on ruffed grouse is The Ruffed Grouse: Life History, Propogation and Management by Gardiner Bump. The book was published in 1947 and I believe Bump was a wildlife biologist for the state of New York. It is truly an exhaustive work but now long out of print. I once had access to a copy and seem to remember reading in it that the red phase of the ruffed grouse was more prevalent in the southern regions of its habitat - Appalachian states and the further north the habitat the more prevalent are the dark brown to grey birds. Although admittedly anecdotal this bears out my experience over the last 35 years or so. A red phase grouse in the U.P. is a rare bird. I used to fish a lot north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and remember seeing up close a lot of "tame" pats but never remember seeing a red phase bird that far north. Two years ago BIGSP and myself met a couple of pat hunters from Kentucky in the U.P. who regaled us with Kentucky and Tenessee grouse hunting stories - they commonly refered to these birds as "red uns' " leaving us with the impression that red phase birds down there were quite the rule and not the exception.

Ruger1
 

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Ruger1 said:
The seminal book on ruffed grouse is The Ruffed Grouse: Life History, Propogation and Management by Gardiner Bump. The book was published in 1947 and I believe Bump was a wildlife biologist for the state of New York. It is truly an exhaustive work but now long out of print. I once had access to a copy and seem to remember reading in it that the red phase of the ruffed grouse was more prevalent in the southern regions of its habitat - Appalachian states and the further north the habitat the more prevalent are the dark brown to grey birds. Although admittedly anecdotal this bears out my experience over the last 35 years or so. A red phase grouse in the U.P. is a rare bird. I used to fish a lot north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and remember seeing up close a lot of "tame" pats but never remember seeing a red phase bird that far north. Two years ago BIGSP and myself met a couple of pat hunters from Kentucky in the U.P. who regaled us with Kentucky and Tenessee grouse hunting stories - they commonly refered to these birds as "red uns' " leaving us with the impression that red phase birds down there were quite the rule and not the exception.

It is a very good book. I found a great condition 1947 copy that is currently on my night stand for some winter reading. I remember reading about the different phases in that book as well. I believe their study concluded that reds were more plentiful in the southern portion of the range where there is a lot of red soils where they can blend in better; even though the color phases occur randomly and they are found throughout their range. At least with the ones I got a good look at I only saw one red phase this year [in the thumb no-less].
 

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General thought on the red/grey phase is that the birds tend to blend in better in their local environments. The reds tend to survive better in the oak forests more prevalent in the southern areas while the grey tend to survive more in the aspen/maple belt of the great lakes. I don't think their is any difference between the two and both can come out of the same clutch of eggs. Only difference is that one isn't as camoflaged as well and is an easier meal for the predators.
 

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You're lucky to own a copy of Bump's book as it is now only available on the used book market . Doing a quick search I found a copy for $75.00 but that is without the dust jacket, the illustrated end papers had been cut out and there was minor damage to some other pages.

The title was re-printed in 1978 but as I remember most of the photos and other illustrations were deleted, the physical size of the book reduced and overall quality rather poor.

Ruger1
 

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This is the first season I have shot any red phase birds, and I shot three.

Two young of the year, and one adult. I think it is a sign that the cycle is turning around in these parts.

Everyone is correct down in southern Grouse Range - Grey Phase birds are rare. The further south in MI you hunt I believe the more Red Phase Birds you find.

I know one think, Pat Hunter missed a monster Red Phase on Saturday, he saw the birds eye it was so close.

Fritz
 

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I see a fair amount of red phase birds. Probably just as many as greys. But would concurn that typically greys are more abundant then reds. Not sure why I see the numbers I do, but I do. Probably in line with what Dave said about the oaks, etc. I have thought about keeping track of color phases in my journal but haven't yet.

The red phase in this pic was taken in the Yoop, and by far the biggest bird that we took.
 

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I shot a small hen Friday that was probably the reddest red phase bird I've ever seen.

Someone mentioned on another board that the prevalence of red phase birds indicated a rebound in the cycle. Anyone validate that?
 

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2ESRGR8 said:
Someone mentioned on another board that the prevalence of red phase birds indicated a rebound in the cycle. Anyone validate that?
That is very interesting...I'd love to hear if that is true or not!
 

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PahtridgeHunter said:
That is very interesting...I'd love to hear if that is true or not!
Just from Personal Experience and speaking with old timers, I think in areas where Grey's dominate, that finding a few Red Phase Birds in the bag would indicate an increase in the cycle. I got serious about Grouse hunting when the peak of the Cycle was dying and this is the first season I have shot any and even been with Partners that shot any. Kush shot a beauty re phase adult with me at camp, he blasted half it's tail off though!

Fred
 

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Steelheadfred said:
. Kush shot a beauty re phase adult with me at camp, he blasted half it's tail off though!

Fred
This one? Yeah, it was one of those gimme shots you're always talking about :lol:
 

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GVSUKUSH said:
This one? Yeah, it was one of those gimme shots you're always talking about :lol:
Yeah that one - you took advantage of the gimmie shot also. Kush I bet you have to beat the ladies off you with that t-shirt in your office. Do you wear it on site visits also - see if some of the ada milf's will take advantage of you:lol: .
 

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Steelheadfred said:
Yeah that one - you took advantage of the gimmie shot also. Kush I bet you have to beat the ladies off you with that t-shirt in your office. Do you wear it on site visits also - see if some of the ada milf's will take advantage of you:lol: .
Crap, it was only 75 degrees that afternoon if I remember correctly. I was stylin that day, if the ladies around here only knew what was under this sweater I'm wearing today............
 

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I have never shot a red phase. I was with Fred when he shot his first one on oppening day but how about almost a mix. When I was up north I shot a bird that was almost in between a red and a grey. Anyone else ever see this? It was a big mature bird, I have the fan at home if I get a chance I will post few pictures of it.
Jr
 

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Duece22 said:
I have never shot a red phase. I was with Fred when he shot his first one on oppening day but how about almost a mix. When I was up north I shot a bird that was almost in between a red and a grey. Anyone else ever see this? It was a big mature bird, I have the fan at home if I get a chance I will post few pictures of it.
Jr
Second day of the season....
 

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Ric - Yep, I believe they're called an intermediate phase bird. I've seen a couple of them from time to time too.

I'll see if I can swipe the digi here at work and take a few pics and post 'em
 

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There was no celebration I was just working on a little retrieving with my dog. Unlike you who I have heard squeal like a little girl more than once :lol:
Jr
 
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