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Drumming Up Research

Ruffed grouse are arguably the most important game bird in the State of Maine. Although much of Maine supports an abundant grouse population, a changing forest throughout much of the state, coupled with forest fragmentation, may limit grouse numbers in the future.

Tens of thousands of hunters pursue grouse in Maine each year. The hunting season for ruffed grouse is three months long and runs from October 1 to December 31 each year. Grouse have been well-studied in other areas of North America, and many of the department’s management decisions concerning grouse are based on research in other states.

However, with Maine’s changing forest landscape there is need for new biological data concerning Maine grouse. Starting this fall, IFW will be partnering with the University of Maine in a collective grouse research project.

The study will focus on such things as grouse nesting success and survival, and also the effect of hunting mortality on the ruffed grouse population. The study will also utilize radio-tagged grouse to help determine how grouse numbers are affected by forest management practices, as well as how individual characteristics such as age, sex and or location affect mortality.

This new research data will be combined with grouse drumming surveys that were conducted this past spring. Together, this will give the department solid, biological data which will guide grouse management decisions into the future.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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