Grouse Habitat, Biology and Property Layout

Show Notes

In this episode, Jon Teater (Whitetail Landscapes) and Todd Waldron (Ruffed Grouse Society) discuss ruffed grouse habitat, biology, and designing a property specific to grouse. Todd explains the lifecycle of grouse and how they choose habitat types to survive on the landscape. Todd explains habitat options and preferences that will overlap with deer preferences and related habitat. Todd considers ruffed grouse as an indicator species of diverse forest settings.

Jon explains the importance of grouse to deer and Todd goes into detail on how grouse habitat changes over the year. Todd details grouse foraging, nesting, brooding and courting areas and how to set those up on your local property. Todd explains why grouse are so sensitive to specific cover and the relative home ranges for grouse. Todd discusses the importance of both open and closed canopy settings and how they relate to nesting. Jon explains in the field examples of nesting sites and how he would develop nesting locations based on this information.

Jon and Todd discuss microclimates that can be created on the landscape to attract wildlife. Jon discusses aspen cutting techniques for grouse. Todd and Jon discuss invasive plants and other trees and shrubs that should be considered for grouse. Todd explains the ideal layout and plant species that will create both grouse and deer habitat. Jon discusses fire on the landscape with Todd, and both explain its importance in establishing better habitat.   

Show Transcript

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Welcome to Maximize Your Hunt, the podcast dedicated to those who want the most out of their hunting property. This podcast explores land management habitat improvement and hunting strategies that will help you [00:01:00] maximize your time in the field. Follow along as industry professionals that live and breathe Whitetailed deer.

Share their secrets to success. The founder of Whitetail Landscapes, your host, John Teeter.

Hi, I'm John Titer White, the landscapes. This is Maximize Your Hunt. Welcome back everybody. Hopefully everybody's doing well and you enjoyed the last podcast. I'm excited today because we have Todd Waldron on. Todd Waldron is with Ruff Gruse Society, and this is not our typical conversation. We sp focus on deer and deer management.

In this case, we're gonna get into rough grouse and the importance of them on the landscape, and there is an overlap. It's really important to recognize a lot of these animal species that we don't pay as much attention to. Certainly even on this podcast, provide a benefit on the landscape. And I think it's really nice to have an opportunity to get in depth and think about, overarching ecology and other plants and animal species that are [00:02:00] important to the benefit.

This, in this case, the future of, the habitat we're trying to develop and this habitat will be specific to grouse today. So let me pull Todd on the line. Hey Todd, how you doing? . Hey, John, I'm great. I'm thrilled to be here. A big fan of your work and your podcast and looking forward to the combo.

A few years ago I was on your podcast and I appreciated the opportunity to you know, to be part of, that, and then obviously to see you take a career change. You're with Ruff Craft Society. You've been with them for a few years, heading up, I think the northeast segment, they're all over the country.

Provid. Kind of education and support to a whole bunch of landowners. And it's really important that, people pay attention to this particular animal because it really is meaningful in the landscape. It's a habitat specific type animal that really requires, very specific vegetation, composition of vegetation.

And we're gonna get into some of the details of, layout design, thinking about, the importance of this particular animal in the [00:03:00] landscape, and also how that'll benefit your deer. I'm looking forward to the conversation and I know a lot of your listeners might be deer hunters, they might be Turkey hunters.

They're working toward habitat enhancement toward toward those species and toward those pursuits. And I hope they find this conversation beneficial. There's a lot of overlap and, rough grass are bellwethers we call them bellwethers. They're like barometers. Of diverse forests and healthy forests.

And they play a biological and ecological role on the ground, in the food chain cycle and, in, in the ecosystem. And they're also just representative of forest diversity that benefits. Deer and turkeys and everything else. Looking forward to talking about it.

Yeah, and we would say, if you're thinking about grouse just at a high level and the importance of young forests that's critical to their survival and across the landscapes that both you and I work on, you're seeing a decline in young forest and it's important for people to [00:04:00] cognize the value of the plant species at a certain age in time to certain animal life.

Particular, grouse and they're all over the country and I think they go as far down to Georgia and I guess out in the Midwest and all sorts of places. But, they, they don't just like cold weather and if you have grouse on your landscape, it's just not Aspen stands you hear a lot of people focused on, A variation of tree species that prefer, but Aspen in a lot of cases, because of its food production and value in the landscape, is a preferential tree species when starting to do the layout.

So we'll explain some of the preferred, tree species shrubs, that, that provide value and are ideal. So why don't we go into. Maybe some of the specifics and thinking more about grouse, what their kind of life cycle is. And as a result of that, let's break down their preferences on habitat.

And then let's try to kind of start to do a layout in design so people have a better understanding of, what they can do on their property. And in addition to that, Todd, I wanna just. Treat [00:05:00] grouse is a buffer species. They are predated on by great horn owls and hawks and, foxes and coyotes, but they provide a buffer or an opportunity to be a consumed species that give opportunities for our fawns and Do and bucks to, live more a prosperous life because again these animals are feeding kind of the other predators on the landscape.

So they play a role in the whole ecology side of things. So I think that's important for people to recognize, number one. Number two, they're fun to hunt and I've hunted 'em for years. When I was a kid hunting with my father, woodcock and grouse was a big thing for us growing up and, we.

Fair share. We've missed many grouse and certainly I think you can probably relate to. Absolutely. And along with all of what you just said, which is spot on John, I would say that I hope that you find this conversation helpful in the sense that what we're talking about with habitat tweaks and enhancements the features that we're talking about are, [00:06:00] while they're specific to grouse in terms of some layout and some forest structure around brooding and nesting and drumming and all that stuff.

We'll talk about. It's improving the diversity of your habitat for other species too. What we like to say is if you have a forest or a property that has grouse in it, and chances are you're gonna find a whole lot of other species around too. So we hope. Hope you find that helpful. Yeah, and I think it's important to start thinking about these tree species in a little bit more depth.

As an example, we'll talk a little bit about thermal cover and its benefit. and, other, I guess mass producing trees, hazelnuts could be one of them. , highbush cranberry is an example for grouse, but it provides a form of cover for both species of, we're talking deer and grouse for that matter.

So it's thinking about the purpose of some of this plant life across the landscape and how it benefits, at least protects and provides food sources for the animals that we're. Promote on the landscape. So let's dig into some of the things, if you're thinking, and it doesn't have to be northeast specific, right?

Because in the Midwest, there's a lot of [00:07:00] oak, hickory, forest there's some Savannah areas. Thinking about kinda the landscapes and the preferences, we try to, categorize. , certain vegetation types is preferential. And I said earlier, Aspen, young Aspen stands old, Aspen stands.

But kinda explain maybe some of the ideal settings that uc, Gruss propagate while on or just survive on. Yeah, sure. And so let's start out a little bit just by. Talking about the life of a grouse and just like other species, like deer and turkeys, how their habitat needs change over throughout the year.

So just like we're talking, thinking about food plots and bedding, cover travel corridors, with grouse we're talking about. Foraging sites and nesting areas breeding areas or courtship areas, which we call drumming areas and like brooding areas for their chicks. And one cool thing that's, grouse that I really love about grouse is that, while they're like incredibly resilient and that you can find them in 30 states, and yes, the populations have [00:08:00] declined over the last 20 years because of decline in habitat diversity with forest diversity.

They can be found. They're incredibly resilient in the sense that they can eat a lot of different food, and yet they're also very sensitive to. Cover. Okay. So they they really need to have forest diversity in the sense of different components of habitat diversity that are, relatively close by.

So like a home grouses, non migratory. So that means that they spend their entire life cycle. Here in New York, if you're listening in New York or the Northeast or wherever you're listening unlike Woodcock that migrate south and then come back in the winter or in the spring rather.

Average home range for a male grouse, you might be talking like, 10 to 25 acres. So it's pretty tight, right? So what that means is that you don't have to have a huge property to, to be able to manage for a grouse. But it is important to have some features close by and some diversity.

In terms of kind of their life [00:09:00] cycle, as the females typically have eggs in. Okay the breeding cycle occurs in the spring. The males have what's called drumming areas or courtship areas, and essentially what they're doing is they have a drumming log that they, that's where they're doing like the audio kind of wing beating.

That sounds like a tractor starting it up. And usually the drumming log is about 12 to 18 inches off the ground. It's in enough sapling cover that gives the grouse protection from abian predators. Usually a few thousand stems per acre. And so typically a small site that might be five acres, the females will be attracted to that.

And then they have a nesting. That is in a slightly more open wooden setting. So picture a forest, a hardwood forest where there's pole size hardwoods and maples and birches and cherries or aspens and maybe some small saw timber. And so grouser, ground nesting[00:10:00] they'll nest at the base of a tree.

They typically have eight to 14 eggs in a clutch. And the hens will typically sit on those for about three weeks. And then the chicks are born, let's say late May, early June. The first two weeks, just like turkeys, the first couple of weeks are the most critical for the for the survival for those chicks.

They can mature incredibly fast. They end up eating like their whole diet in the summertime is like insects and protein and in vertebraes and spiders. . And so having, access to some open areas, maybe it's a skid trail or maybe it's a small log landing, less than a half an acre in size.

Like sometimes, whereas deer will use food plots that are much larger than that because of avian predation. Grouses tend to like those smaller areas. But what is important is having a mix of that, close to. nesting in brooding areas. Summertime, the grouses are keyed into, some [00:11:00] insects for the chicks to grow.

And they'll reach biological maturity in 16 weeks. So in the summer, by the time, September, October comes, those chicks are fully biologically mature and then dispersing. Todd, I wanna back up for a second. You talked about two things, and I wanna go back to nesting sites for example, because, just this reproduction cycle and the time they're sitting on these clutches and getting everybody, prepared, right?

For the, for. Jot out into the insect world. Yeah. What are ideal nesting settings? Because I've got a couple ideas I want to just throw out there. Where we're talking about stems per acre and then we're talking about these, more open areas. I've found you have a dense stem per acre.

You're dropping maybe some larger trees in those areas. Some of 'em may be living, in fact, I've. on client sites this year. Probably clients that'll listen to this. I've identified sites that I think would be preferential. What I've noticed is if there's a tree that gets windrow and there's multiple trees that are windrow in an area, but there's still [00:12:00] space where they can maneuver, and those are.

Maybe more dense areas, but they're not easily traveled by predators and there is overhead cover to some degree. , they have a tendency to nest in those areas or lay eggs in those areas. And usually they're to base at a bottom, a tree that's hollowed out or just a I guess I would say a cove like structure.

I've seen those specific examples. Sometimes they're near Briar patches, but like to your example, I've seen 'em. Even, I guess settings where there, there is more open hardwood again, a couple trees get wind thrown and there's a nest setting there. What would you say would be ideal?

Because I know that you've gotta worry about, the avian predators, but obviously ground predators as well. What have you seen work? Yeah, that's a great example that works with the Windrow sites, John and your right about, the hollow trees and typically what I think is ideal is like an open kind of forest nesting setting where maybe the trees are, anywhere from eight to 14 inches in diameter, breast height.

For forestry folks the [00:13:00] density or the basal areas could be 80 to a hundred. It gives enough visual, I think, for the grouse to be able to see predate, predators and stuff. But one thing that's, that is really important to that is like the proximity to some denser. , like within 300 feet.

So if there's if there's like a brooding site nearby where it's the dense, the stem density, or at least the mid-layer shrubs, maybe there's some hazel, maybe there's some dogwood nearby or alders, something that gives a little more cover younger forest that's, five to 15 years old and then or maybe abandoned farmfield with shrubs and a lot of just overgrown kind of stuff.

and then like within that kind of matrix, of having some trails or log landings or something like that might be seated in with red clover or white clover, that kind of thing. Having the, all the boxes checked within a relatively small area, maybe five acres or so, helps a lot.

[00:14:00] Todd the. , the example there of Clover where you have these, small settings. We will say they're less than maybe a quarter of an acre, maybe even around a 10th of an acre or an eighth of an acre, depending on the size. We're trying to create kinds openings and adjacent those openings.

I like some form of cover. And again, this could be shrubbery like you said earlier, dog woods. If your wetter area is maybe n bury or some type of plants like that. Provide that kind of structure, that more dense structure that they can, jump into or hide into, they don't need a lot of space or they don't need a lot of space to run away.

They typically do flyaway in those examples, but they don't fly very far. So when they get up in the air, they've gotta be able to maneuver. And I think that's important in those examples. So you could have a layer of shrubbery right around the edge. , and then they fly off into another layer of shrubbery.

So you're creating just multiple edges within the landscape that they have some escape cover into. And I've seen that work really well in hunting scenarios. Think about this, it's really hard to get in there to shoot 'em because they go to the next layer of cover and then the [00:15:00] next layer of cover.

And so they always have those escape opportunities that, that I've recognized. But having that clover is a food source. This is a little bit different from turkeys and a little bit different for deer. They don't need, in this cases they're eating a lot of insect life in that example.

And deer obviously need that plentiful of large mass areas of clover. , but you're creating this environment where these little micro climates and they've, they're micromanaged and, allowing, Kind of the ultimate selection of food and cover, and that's really ideal.

So they aren't being attacked and again, they prosper because, the building of their bodies throughout the, this life cycle. So they can survive the harsh winter months. They're adapted to, to surviving in, in winter conditions. They do really well. They do much better than Turkeys actually.

And I think that's, there is a reason why there is a decline in turkeys as a result of this, but they've adapted to the landscape a little bit better, I think, than Turkeys have. So I just given some thoughts just off my head when I'm thinking about design and layout on the landscape.

Yeah, that's such a good point, John. The microclimates are really important and I've learned that [00:16:00] since working with RG s just poking around the woods with some RGS members. There's nobody that knows grouse covers like Rough Grass Society members who have been out in the woods with their setters for 40 years, and they just have a knack for finding small little pockets of.

that, that maybe you were, I might not even notice, but it's oh, there's a little bit of hazel over here and it's just enough. Or, there's some dogwoods or there's this alder patch. And so it, the micro situation is definitely valid there. And like I, I was talking earlier I saw a study recently coming out of Pennsylvania with, grouse crops.

I think there were 732 grass crops that were examined in, I think even January. or maybe, late fall through the hunting season and, 63 different species were found of plants. They're just like deer. They're moving from, insects and clover and berries and stuff like that.

Partridge berry in the summertime. And [00:17:00] then, into the fall, their biology is changing. They're going into dispersal, they're eating buds, they're eating apples. They're eating, grape. They love grapes you name it, a whole bunch of other stuff. And then, the winter adaptation, they typically get by March.

I think upwards of 70% of their diet is budding, yeah. And like they can eat seeds, they can eat cns, they feed on as aspirin buds, cherry butts, a whole bunch of other buds. So having, the diversity there you don't need hundreds of acres to manage for grouse. and like as much as a Aspen is like the miracle pill because it just checks so many things off the box.

If you don't have Aspen, if you're in an oak kind of forest zone or Ecotype, there's still grass. There's grass in the Southern apps. and they're in Greenbriar and they're in oak stands and so the structure can dictate, some of the cover needs and but they're really opportunistic about, what they can do and how [00:18:00] they survive.

And that's one of the things I love about them. Yeah, the ideal state is you have that aspen, where you're cutting and you're managing a younger forest. Maybe in that I'll say five. 10 year range, and then you have maybe, the older age class, maybe 15 to 20 and then, or maybe 15 to 30, and then again 30 to 50.

It's that life cycle and you juxtaposing those against each other. That's one strategy I've seen as a layout. But if you don't have those species, it's managing that younger forest settings. I. You don't have to get rid of, I guess all the oak trees, but if there's oak production and you can, increase that, I think that'll be valuable and it'll be most valuable when you have those young saplings that provide cover and opportunity.

And in that, if you have ironwood species or other, other trees that produce kind of these seeds that, that they value. talking to you earlier about box elder. I saw, the meeting box elder. I thought that was interesting. But again, they are opportunistic and they're looking at, highbush cranberry, which I have here in my yard.

I've got [00:19:00] almost the ideal layout and setting in my backyard. I didn't purposely design this for Krause, I had my daughter the other day, I had this Rose Bush next to the house and there's a grouse sitting in it and I just, the kids were, poking at my daughter's, banging on the window scar.

And I look out in the backyard. I'm just thinking, I've been so fortunate over the years because the furs that I have laid out in concert with the Norway Spruce in concert with, I've got some white spruce and I've just have got these little pockets of cover in concert with this, it's probably about a quarter acre clover patch and it's got some openings and then I've got some Aspen.

I've just, I've got the ideal setting and I'm managing. With briars and brambles and it just promotes their interests. So they are very, vegetative, selective type, animals that you've gotta diagnose what their preferences is. And I think it's important to observe on the landscape what's already naturally there and where you're finding them.

So the question I have for you, Todd, is a lot of people are dealing with invasive plants and a couple of those being buck thorn and bush [00:20:00] honeysuckle, and they do provide great structure and I would say great cover for these animals, but they may not provide a valuable food source, what's your opinion of those in the landscape and their benefit to, to grouse and I know that's a little controversial, but it's evident that the grouses do use them and I've seen them in patch.

Yeah, absolutely John, and especially in abandoned farm areas and in shrub lands and in areas where there's transitions and the fact is, there's buck thorn on the landscape and there's au olive on the landscape and there's honeysuckle on the landscape, and there's no doubt that stuff provides, some element of cover in the mid story.

So I think from the predation standpoint, it, it's probably not a detriment. The one challenge is when it really starts getting so prolific that it just chokes out all the native vegetation. So if it gets into a situation, you think about the species, you talked about that grouse and I can think.

Crab apples, [00:21:00] hawthornes, dogwood, hazel, serviceberries, elderberries, grapes, blueberries, they eat it all at certain times of the year when those food sources are available. So if it gets to the point where it's like it's really becoming problematic where it's it's choking out some of the native habitat and food opportunities, and if that's the limiting factor then.

It's definitely something that needs to be addressed. And I guess, the other side of things is try to take a holistic approach too, around like working with what's there and the reality on the ground. But if there's opportunities when we're managing, like we're thinking about native forest habitat restoration and diversity, and we're trying to do civil culture for, a lot of times, the forest management meets a whole bunch of landowner objectives.

Wildlife, including, deer, Turkey, some grouse plus, healthy forest. And can't overlook the invasives when you're trying to deal with that. You're trying to work toward native species and and [00:22:00] habitat structure that way. But the fact is it is there, it's cost prohibitive to get rid of sometimes.

And so if there's other habitat features around like food and sapling. That is native, that helps the birds. Then, there is a balancing act there of accepting what it is for, the cover strategy, but like working the best you can. To provide that native habitat restoration.

Yeah. And one example as well. Yeah. One example I'm thinking of Todd, that just comes to mind is you're looking at preferences of these, non-native plants and then you know what you can do to replace them. I did a podcast on, alternatives. St. Su sumac is a good example that you, a plant that does well in similar occasions of bush honeysuckle and, thinking about utiliz.

You know that particular plant, killing it, spraying it, and then taking the seed, the resident seed, which by the way, gruss, enjoy those. So it provides structure and food and placing that seed in that location and using the top or the available stems that remain as a cover [00:23:00] source, a fencing opportunity, and you can promote stack corn sumac on the landscape.

For the wider areas. You can take root cuttings of Aspen. There's a lot of, tag Alder is a great example. That's also, a food producing plant. So definitely depending on your landscape, start looking at the different varieties of plants that produce, a again a food source, particularly a winter food source is really important because we wanna make sure that survival rate stays up right?

And again, this takes the pressure off our deer and that's really critical. Todd, I wanna take you another direction. I wanna start really like designing. You gave some spatial. Discussion here, three, 400 feet between, different vegetation types, et cetera. Let's take like this ideal microclimate and let's just design it.

There's drumming sites where, the males get up and they want to beat their chest. There's nesting sites. What does it look like? Can we kinda give the listenership kind of some example we talked about a clover site. Maybe lay it out in your mind, and we're talking about kind of terrestrial areas so they're not really wet and how are animals In this case, grouse gonna prefer something like an ideal microclimate.

And by the way, I want to copy and paste this all over landscape so I can have [00:24:00] grouse all over the place. Cause I wanna haunt 'em. Yeah. So what would be kinda like the ideal kinda layout in your. Yeah, picture if I had 40 acres to use as an activity center, right? And it doesn't have to be like really structurally complicated, but 40 acres with four h glasses of forest ranging from.

Recently regenerated patch areas, two to five acres in size up to, 15 year old stems that are broom handle size, up to 25 year old stems that are producing twigs and buds and growing fast and up to maybe something that's older, providing some soft wood cover in there as well. So from a four structure standpoint, the age class diversity, breaking it up into about four general age groups.

and then like equally dispersed throughout that 40 acres. So maybe, 10, 5, 10 acres of young forest, a whole bunch in between. And then five or 10 acres of older forest. And in between that, having some trails, maybe some skid trails, a log landing that seated [00:25:00] in with some clover, having soft wood cover, having access.

Like anything else that's nearby in terms of food sources, dog woods, tag, alders, anything else like that, hard and soft mass. That's a situation that's like ideal. If you read if anybody's interested in like really digging into grouse habitat, you could read a book.

This guy named Gordon Goulian, who was from Minnesota, who wrote the, the premise of how to manage for grouse and it's upper Midwest, it's Aspen, some of the silver culture is the same. It's it's even age management. It's having. Mid story cover in two age stands which means that there's you're opening up the forest enough to have a, an over higher tree canopy and then a mid story level, 15, 20 feet high or less.

So you know, there's. That's like a situation where you know, you can, grouse can really do well. Everything's close by in that activity center. So you've got the diversity of habitat that can get through the year [00:26:00] that can provide, the Young Force component provides that drumming cover.

And brooding cover, the open older forest provide the nesting areas. You've got different food sources for different times of the year. That's a situation where that's almost perfect. And then if it's juxtapose to some old fields, some overgrown farmland, which might be, something that you see a lot in, say, central New York or in other parts of the Midwest, or anywhere in New York or Pennsylvania or the northeast.

Just having that diversity in general close by, and then being able to replicate that as a mosaic or as patchwork. I think, that's a really great setup for for grouse. And I think, when you think about that, that overlays pretty well with other species too.

You're providing bedding areas you're keeping some older trees that can produce mask for gear and Turkey. You've got some connectivity there. I think that all in all, , any work that you're doing for a [00:27:00] grouse is gonna be beneficial for a lot of the other wildlife that you're trying to manage for.

Yeah. And I think thinking about the shrubbery is really critical. The, crab apples could be formed in shrubbery dogwoods, of course Silky dogwood would be a good example. I'm just trying to think of other, hawthornes is a low growing tree, which, you could classify as a straw depending on its structure and status.

Just thinking about things we talked about sumac earlier, but thinking about that variety in the landscape, and again, this relates well to deer hunting because when you're thinking we need to talk thermal really quick because, I think it's important to add a thermal component to these areas because, in these open settings, a lot of times you'll see grouse burrow and hide themselves underneath.

A coniferous tree, and again, I'll bring up a non-native Norways Norway. Spruce hemlock is a great example. Hemlock, young hemlock trees, depending on their age and status and grouping, they can be a good example for them. But having, those type of coniferous trees to, to give them the thermal benefit.

And also, credit the fact that there are, hawks around avian predator. We'll pick them off easily in an open area, and they run from [00:28:00] just like chickens. They run from cover to cover. Gros do the same thing. So they like to stay tight to that cover source. So they're not interested in going into these open areas.

So when doing your layout and design, Todd, I think you, you really explained it really well. And I think some of these same, vegetation, qualities that we're talking about really will benefit the. I've talked about this before on previous podcasts where we've talked about Aspen cuts and the interest of bucks.

Bucks tend to have, male deer have a tendency to be their interest in those areas cuz the volume of food that's typically present. They do a lot of browsing on forage that Aspen related trees are a great example for them. Assuming you have those drier terrestrial kind of areas.

it's currently creating these ideal settings, but making sure there's enough space for accessibility, I think with the grouse is a little bit different, at the accessibility and the layers that we're talking about can be a little tighter, where I think deer tend to be a little bit more open and spatial.

So thinking about, escape because again, the size of the animals contingent on how it's gonna get up and move and that's the same thing that applies to, [00:29:00] to grouse for that matter. So I think this is all interesting and interesting topic. Yeah, John that's exactly it. Like your point about the thermal cover with Softwoods is so important because, hardwood stands this time of year late fall, once the leaf cover comes down way too open susceptible to predation.

The soft wood component there. The Norways, the Hemlocks. Any soft wood cover like pine, can provide cover from predation and a little bit of just protection and also the thermal benefits. And in places where there's enough snow grouse will snow roo.

So if you have about 18 inches of snow, on the ground and there's not a hard crust. It'll actually burrow underneath the snow. And then that gives them protection from avian predators. It gives them thermal protection. In situations where there's a lot of snow, that's great, you don't have a lot of snow on the ground.

The soft wood cover makes up for that and helps. . So yeah, completely agree. All right, [00:30:00] so we're gonna finish up here, Todd, but I got a zinger here for you at the end. So I think this is a ton of great information and I really appreciate this level of detail. I've I haven't, I've been, I was today looking for, has there been any other really good podcasts on grouse?

And this is probably some of the top content I've heard. So the one thing I want to ask you is and this is pertinent to the northeast. . I would say that there's a miss here, and the miss is simply this because I'm unable to burn legally on the landscape, at least where I'm located. I feel like that's a detriment to me at least resetting some of these areas because a lot of times we're talking about windthrow, we're resetting areas, and naturally I think fire would be a benefit to grouse.

Do you feel that way too? And do you feel like it would be a benefit across the landscape? A again, assuming you can manage the overstory trees, et cetera do you feel like that's a miss in least the northeast and maybe there's an opportunity out in the Midwest and southern states to create more opportunity for grouse habitat because of fire usage?[00:31:00]

I sure do. John. I think there's a huge opportunity for one, fire has been an important tool on the landscape for hundreds or thousands of years, here. So you take, for instance Oak Forest, right? They're really if you wanna see what fire can do for habitat diversity, , go down to Pennsylvania and check out some of the gameland management that Pennsylvania Game Commission doing.

They burn about 20,000 acres a year, and that is not only is it good for the habitat component, but it's absolutely good for the oak resilience and there's getting oak regeneration and they're having stand diversity. And so all of the things that we're lacking on the landscape right now that we're moving away from, that fire component where it makes sense.

Yeah. For those forest types it's a great tool. Yes. So yeah it controls invasives, like it helps with Forbes and stuff on the ground. It helps with regeneration. It's a huge tool. It's [00:32:00] a big opportunity. I'd like to see more of it where it makes sense. Yeah. And I think it would help bugging sites mid-summer, burns, those type of things.

As well as, opportunities in the Midwest where you may not have these aspen stands per se. Again, Savannah settings, but you can reset with fire and you have opportunity to have kind of the. Young forest settings and a lot of herba material you'll get a lot of interest.

They're known for being flower eaters essentially, and eating the bugs and any producing seed. The grouses themselves will adapt and they'll do well in those settings. And I think it's just an ideal thing to think more about on your landscape. Again, it's gotta be, land specific upland areas that.

Prevalent or used to those, you know those techniques and I think it's important to consider that when you're doing your layout and designs, because in some instances, we've got, people listening all over the place here is thinking about kind of your fire breaks and your layout.

That could be another component of. Doing your layout here, like we explained earlier in, in some of the settings we identified. So Todd, anything else you want to get into? This is super detailed and[00:33:00] I hope the listenership, cuz we talked about a lot of plants and, a lot of trees and age class and, just a lot of information here.

Any, anything you want to end with, you know about you, your business what, what Ro gr society, provides in the, on, on the landscape. And how it's such a great opportunity for people to be a part of it. Cuz people can certainly join and be a part of, be part of this society.

And that's a big thing. Yeah. If anybody's interested, you wanna check out our work, you can find us online. That rough Grouse Society. O r g, so it's R U F E. Grouse Society at do org and you can check out some of the projects that we're doing. Our mission is to connect conservationists around forest and wildlife.

We're doing some amazing habitat work on both private and public lands across the country from the northeast here in New York, down to the southern apps in North Carolina and Georgia. We're helping the Forest Service get habitat work done on public lands that's badly needed to get [00:34:00] back to desired conditions and diversity.

We're helping state agencies get work done on public lands. We're helping private landowners get work done. So our ruff gr g my email is todd w ruff gro So if anybody has any questions, I'm also on social. I'd be happy to talk about any of the work that we're doing, John, or just, catch up about tips around grouse hunting or, habitat or any just deer hunting in general.

I love hunting. I've been a lifelong hunter and thrilled to be here with you and your audience. And look forward to the next time we talk. Yeah, I can't wait to talk again. And I appreciate all this. This is really detailed and super valuable for me and hopefully, the listenership got a lot out of it cause I did.

So we'll talk again and appreciate you being on. Thanks, John. Look forward to it. All right, talk soon. See you, Todd.

Maximize Your hunt is a production of whitetail landscapes. For more [00:35:00] information on how John Teeter and his team of experts can help you maximize your hunt, check out whitetail