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Hunters encouraged to collect spruce grouse feathers for genetics study

Hunters encouraged to collect spruce grouse feathers for genetics study

Minnesota Grouse season opens Sept. 19

ST PAUL, MINNESOTA  ~~~~~  September 15, 2020  (LSN)  Spruce grouse hunters in northern Minnesota’s boreal forests are being asked to voluntarily submit feather samples for a genetics research project being conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in partnership with the University of Minnesota. 

“Hunters who enjoy pursuing these birds are critical to the success of this project and our work to conserve this species,” said DNR grouse research scientist Charlotte Roy. “Data collection for this project is simple and can be a fun science activity to engage hunters of all ages.”

The study will use grouse genetics to form a baseline of data to establish how spruce grouse currently use the landscape and to identify changes in habitat connectivity over time. When habitat becomes fragmented and a species loses connectivity to its former range, the species can form smaller distinct genetic groups over time.

Spruce grouse are a climate-sensitive species that rely on boreal forest habitats containing black spruce, jack pine and tamarack – all of which are expected to shift northward on the landscape as temperatures increase.

Hunters who would like to assist with the project should collect three to five large wing or tail feathers along with the GPS coordinates of the harvest location. The feathers, GPS coordinates and the hunter’s name and telephone number should be mailed to: Grouse Research, DNR regional headquarters, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN  55744. Harvest locations will not be made public. Hunters should mail samples from each bird in a separate envelope and not mix feather samples from multiple birds.

This research project is funded by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources with dollars from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Surveys show hunters have harvested between 7,081 and 19,130 spruce grouse each year over the last 11 years. More information about spruce grouse management can be found on the hunting grouse page of the DNR website.

There's more to Minnesota than 10,000 lakes. Try 11 million acres of public hunting land, 528 designated hunting areas in the ruffed grouse range covering nearly 1 million acres, more than 40 designated ruffed grouse management areas and 600 miles of hunter walking trails.

Minnesota offers some of the best grouse hunting in the country. Even in down years of the grouse population's boom-and-bust cycle, hunters in other states still envy our flush rates and hunter success rates remain high.

Grouse already know Minnesota is the perfect place. It's time you did, too.

Spruce grouse genetics study

You can contribute to research on landscape connectivity for spruce grouse by sending three to five feathers from each bird you harvest.

To participate, please use one envelope for each bird and send feathers to Grouse Research at 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744. Please include your name, contact information, harvest date, and harvest location (GPS coordinates preferred for the analysis and will not be made public) for each bird.

For more information, email Charlotte Roy at charlotte.roy@state.mn.us

Upland bird calendar

  09/19/20 - 01/03/21 Ruffed & spruce grouse Statewide
  09/19/20 - 11/30/20 Sharp-tailed grouse Northwest zone
  10/10/20 - 11/30/20 Sharp-tailed grouse East-central zone

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#LSN_CircleTour  #LSN_Outdoors  #LSN_CookCounty 

  • 15 September 2020
  • Author: Robert McKenzie
  • Number of views: 397
  • Comments: 0
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