Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
On July 29 and 30, the Indiana Natural Resource Commission held public hearings regarding their Biennial Wildlife Amendments, which are proposed changes to the state’s wildlife regulations. Included in the amendments was the listing of the ruffed grouse as a state Endangered Species in Indiana. CSF submitted a letter of support for the listing, which again called for the swift implementation of a strong action plan focused on sound, science-based wildlife and forestry management practices with clearly defined goals and benchmarks for recovery.
Ruffed grouse were once a popular game bird across the Hoosier State. However, by 1983, it was confirmed that ruffed grouse had been extirpated from 43 of the state’s 92 counties. Today, it is believed that these birds only inhabit a very small portion of southern Indiana. In 2015, Indiana suspended the ruffed grouse hunting season, and ruffed grouse were listed as a “Species of Special Concern” by the state.
In recent years, CSF has been at the forefront of this issue, working with legislators, the Indiana Department of Natural Recourses, the Indiana Natural Resource Commission, and conservation partners to promote science-based wildlife and forestry management practices in the state. Additionally, CSF has worked to educate those unfamiliar with the issue on the negative ramifications that poor forestry management can have on both the forests and wildlife. Forest management is a hotly contested issue in Indiana, and all sides of the issue were represented at the public hearings, regarding the listing of the ruffed grouse. The Natural Resource Commission will review the comments and make a final decision on the listing of the Ruffed Grouse at a meeting later this year.
CSF is resolved to continue our work in Indiana to promote science-based management practices with the goals of not only returning ruffed grouse to a sustainable abundance that allows for the re-establishment of a hunting season for Indiana sportsmen and women, but to also ensure that public policy supports the health of all forests and wildlife in the state.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?