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Grouse hunting tournament results indicate high population

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For the past 31 years a group of Bemidji area friends has staged a reunion with grouse hunting as its theme.

Traditionally, the event organizers target the second weekend of the grouse season as the day for the event because points can also be earned by bringing in woodcock and the woodcock season begins a week later than the grouse opener.

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The 31st annual "Grouse Out" was held Saturday and none of the hunters knew exactly what to expect when they hit the trails. DNR estimates indicated that the ruffed grouse numbers were down from 2009 and that the peak in the 10-year cycle probably occurred last year.

A year ago the tournament included 35 hunters grouped into 17 teams. Each team has a favorite grouse spot and in 2009 those locations included Alvwood, Becida, Kelliher, the Chippewa National Forest, Shevlin, Highway 89, Pennington and everywhere in between.

When the hunt was over it was obvious that the grouse population was high as the hunters returned with 45 grouse, 167 grouse flushes, five harvested woodcock and 13 woodcock flushes.

On Saturday the 34 hunters and 17 teams hit the woods again. While many of the traditional locations were worked, this year's territory expanded to the Paul Bunyan Forest and Gully. And everybody found birds.

This year's harvest included 88 ruffed grouse and one sharptail. Collectively the hunters flushed 206 grouse and 14 woodcock.

Of the 17 teams, three flushed at least 20 grouse and four others flushed at least 15. Limits are rare whenever you go grouse hunting but Saturday three teams returned with 10 grouse and another duo harvested nine birds. The tally sheet also included a team with eight grouse, three with six and another with five.

The number of grouse killed and flushed Saturday represented record highs for the 31 years of the tournament. The averages of 2.588 harvested grouse and 6.06 flushed grouse per hunter also established tournament records

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

For the past 31 years a group of Bemidji area friends has staged a reunion with grouse hunting as its theme.

Traditionally, the event organizers target the second weekend of the grouse season as the day for the event because points can also be earned by bringing in woodcock and the woodcock season begins a week later than the grouse opener.

The 31st annual "Grouse Out" was held Saturday and none of the hunters knew exactly what to expect when they hit the trails. DNR estimates indicated that the ruffed grouse numbers were down from 2009 and that the peak in the 10-year cycle probably occurred last year.

A year ago the tournament included 35 hunters grouped into 17 teams. Each team has a favorite grouse spot and in 2009 those locations included Alvwood, Becida, Kelliher, the Chippewa National Forest, Shevlin, Highway 89, Pennington and everywhere in between.

When the hunt was over it was obvious that the grouse population was high as the hunters returned with 45 grouse, 167 grouse flushes, five harvested woodcock and 13 woodcock flushes.

On Saturday the 34 hunters and 17 teams hit the woods again. While many of the traditional locations were worked, this year's territory expanded to the Paul Bunyan Forest and Gully. And everybody found birds.

This year's harvest included 88 ruffed grouse and one sharptail. Collectively the hunters flushed 206 grouse and 14 woodcock.

Of the 17 teams, three flushed at least 20 grouse and four others flushed at least 15. Limits are rare whenever you go grouse hunting but Saturday three teams returned with 10 grouse and another duo harvested nine birds. The tally sheet also included a team with eight grouse, three with six and another with five.

The number of grouse killed and flushed Saturday represented record highs for the 31 years of the tournament. The averages of 2.588 harvested grouse and 6.06 flushed grouse per hunter also established tournament records

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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pmiller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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