MN Ruffie Harvest Up, Hunters Too But…

August 8, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

Ruffed grouse hunting is about as exciting as watching paint dry, grass grow or – maybe a little better – making donuts.

Of course that’s not true, but apparently a lot of hunters think so, especially when compared to sitting up in a dang tree all day hoping for a deer to walk by. Now THAT’s exciting.

Why are we on this? The MN DNR recently revealed that while 2010 was the peak or near the peak of the state’s ruffie population, the number of ruffie hunters wasn’t nearly as high as it was around the last peak. Here are the numbers:

> 466,000 birds taken in 2010, a 30% increase over 2009 and the highest in 10 years
> 92,000 hunters, a 6% increase over 2009
> 2010 hunter numbers were the same as in 2006, which was the highest number since 2003
> Nearly a million birds shot in 1998 (the last ruffie population peak), 142,000 hunters in the field
> If our math is right, there were 35% fewer hunters in ’10 vs. ’98

“The (hunter) numbers did come up some from the previous year, which is a good thing, but they’re certainly well below what we’ve historically had during the high (grouse) numbers,” Steve Merchant, forest wildlife program consultant for the DNR, told the Duluth News Tribune. “That remains discouraging. We still have a long way to go.”

The question then is what it takes for hunters to get stoked about grouse hunting. After all, in 2010 those numbers work out to be 5 birds per hunter, vs. 4.1 in 2009 – the best rate in the country, according to MN.


Category: MN, Ruffed Grouse

Comments (2)

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  1. Christopher says:

    This is my opinion.
    First I think the decline is due to a few factors.
    one being single parent famalies, to many kids growing up with just their mothers and mothers usually do not hunt, not all, but most.
    Second, the cost of hunting keeps going up.
    If I had to calculate how much money I spent on a per bird basis ( thankfully my mind doens’t work that way )I might think about giving it up also and I shot 19 last year.
    Third, there is so much else to do here in Minny.
    Bow hunting for deer is getting bigger every year, not to mention the great fall fishing, and when pheasant season opens that really clears out the northwoods of grouse hunters.
    These are few reasons I feel is the cause of decline. I can’t wait to hit the logging roads all October long and if there are fewer hunters in the woods that doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit, I know what their missing.

  2. After 23 years as a Hunter Ed Instructor for the State of Va. I have concluded that the single parent family is just one cause for a drop in our youth hunting license sales. Mom probably dosen’t care to have a gun in the home,she dosen’t hunt or have someone to take her child hunting, the cost can be prohibitive to some households,& a lot of todays youth are just plain lazy and addicted to video games. VDGIF has initiated an apprentice license which allows a youth to experience hunting without taking a Hunter Ed course,& is at a reduced rate. This does not do much for getting someone to take them hunting, that my fellow hunters is up to us. Take a kid hunting, it beats hunting for a kid. Just my opinion & I could be wrong.

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