Julie Robinson: (603) 868-1095
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
Sept. 27, 2006

Hunters Asked to Participate in Ruffed Grouse Wing and Tail Survey

CONCORD, N.H. -- With summer behind us, it's time for those who love fall bird hunting to get ready. Hunting season for grouse - the most sought-after small game species in New Hampshire -- gets underway October 1. "There are plenty of good grouse hunting areas in the northern part of the state. With a little homework you can find good ones south of the White Mountains, too!" says New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Small Game Project Leader Julie Robinson.

Last fall, Fish and Game's Small Game Project initiated a pilot study in Pittsburg to gather ruffed grouse wings and tails submitted by ruffed grouse hunters. The grouse materials collected give Fish and Game biologists valuable age, sex and distribution data on this premiere game bird. The pilot project received solid support and so was expanded for this fall's ruffed grouse season (October 1 through December 31) to include the region north of the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112).

Hunters can pick up grouse sample packets, which include envelopes and survey cards for two grouse samples, at any of the participating locations listed below. Completed packets must be returned to one of the same locations. Participating grouse hunters are asked to remove all tissue from wing and tail samples and to let them dry for several days before placing them in sample envelopes. Hunters are reminded NOT to place the samples in plastic of any kind. Hunters should place only one wing and tail in each envelope with the corresponding completed survey card. For each usable sample submitted with a completed survey card, the hunter's name will be entered into a drawing for a Beretta Urika Semi-Auto 20-Gauge Shotgun (retail value -- $1,050) generously donated by the Ruffed Grouse Society.

Sample packets can be picked up and dropped off at the following locations:

  • Region 1 Fish and Game office, Lancaster NH 03584 (open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.)
  • Yesterday's Country Store, 1156 West Milan Road, Milan, NH 03588 (Store hours: 5:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily)
  • Wildcat Service Station, Jackson, NH 03846 (Store hours: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily)
  • Errol General Store, 76 Main Street, Errol, NH 03579 (Store hours: Monday-Thursday 5 a.m.- 7 p.m.; Friday 5 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 6 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.)
  • Emerson's Outdoor Outfitters, 149 State Street, Groveton, NH 03582 (Store hours: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily)
  • Young's General Store, 2792 North Main Street, Pittsburg, NH 03592 (Store hours: Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Friday - Saturday 8 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.)

"Hunters participation is key to our success," said Robinson. "The samples that we collect will give us age, sex and distribution data on this premiere game bird and in so doing, help us to determine grouse management needs."

Questions about the wing and tail survey should be directed to Julie Robinson, Small Game Project Leader at (603) 868-1095.

If you do hunt for grouse this fall, please also take the time to fill out Fish and Game's Small Game Survey. Your field observations will provide Fish and Game with valuable management insight into our small game species. Hunters who fill in this form and return it to Fish and Game by April 15, 2007, will be entered into a drawing held at the close of the season for a 10-22 RR rifle donated by the Sturm Ruger Company. Hunters can request a survey form to fill out by calling (603) 271-2461 or sending an email with your request to:

Grouse populations in New Hampshire have remained relatively steady in New Hampshire in recent years. Spring rains during the peak weeks for the grouse hatch in various parts of the state had some negative impact this year, but "upland game bird hunters can take heart," said Robinson. "Grouse are hearty birds and smaller broods have been seen, which indicates re-nesting efforts."

To learn more about the excitement and challenge of grouse hunting in New Hampshire, click here for a feature called "Undercover Drummer," by Jim Riccardi, published in the September/October 2006 New Hampshire Wildlife Journal magazine.

For more about small game seasons and bag limits, click here.

If you need a hunting license, click here for online license sales, or visit local Fish and Game license agents statewide.

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Concord, NH 03301

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