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Hunting and Fishing: Ruffled advocates alter grouse season
Friday, March 04, 2005
BY FRED J. AUN
For the Star-Ledger
There are a few places where squirrels and ruffed grouse come together nicely. One, depending on the culinary skills of the preparer, is the anything-goes hunter jambalaya sometimes called Brunswick Stew.

Deep within the bowhunting.net website you can find the Cooking with SusieQ page and its description of this concoction. In essence, anything returned to camp by a party of hunters can be cleaned, floured, seasoned, fried, mixed with vegetables and cooked in stock for a couple hours.

As the recipe notes, "rabbit, squirrel, woodchuck, opossum, venison, bear, quail, grouse, squab, partridge -- or whatever," can be tossed into this train wreck of a dish. "It has been said that, until you have partaken of Brunswick Stew in the bush, you haven't earned your vittles at all as a huntsman," notes the author.

That sounds ominous. But even if squirrel and grouse mix well in stew, they shouldn't go together in New Jersey's Game Code, say grouse advocates. "Grouse season was always squirrel season: from September to March," said Jim DeSaye, president of the Ruffed Grouse Society Skylands Chapter. "Realistically, that's not practical. In most Northeastern states, it ends in January."

The group asked the state Division of Fish and Wildlife to consider shortening the grouse season and it appears the request did not go unanswered. The proposed new state Game Code calls for a shorter grouse season and a reduced bag limit.

If approved, the season will begin Oct. 20 (opening day for wood [no swearing please] hunting) and conclude Dec. 31, with a 2-birds-per-day bag limit. Currently, the season has a 3-bird bag limit, begins Sept. 25 and, with the exception of a pause during buck season, ends Feb. 21.

The Ruffed Grouse Society asked for a 1-bird-per-day season beginning Oct. 15 and ending Jan. 15.

While habitat loss, not hunting, is considered the biggest threat to the grouse population, the shorter hunting season should help the birds gain some ground. "We ... wrote to Fish and Wildlife asking for a more realistic season, lengthwise, to give the birds more cover in winter to possibly increase the breeding stock in the spring," said DeSaye. "We wanted a season that managed specifically for our species and was more in line with grouse seasons in other parts of the Northeast."

Anti-hunting groups continually criticize the Fish and Game Council for being unconcerned about the welfare and population of wildlife, but rarely acknowledge these types of management changes. "We pulled the season back," said Fish and Game Council Chairman E. Scott Ellis. Similar conscientious thinking by the council helped spark the amazing rebound of the black bear, he noted wryly.

'When it comes to bears, the Fish and Game Council afforded them protection" said Ellis. "Before that, there were no bears around. People shot them as nuisance animals. The last bear season was in the 70s because there weren't any bears left. Now there's too many and there is no better means of population control than hunting."

Fred Aun appears regularly

in The Star-Ledger. He can be reached at [email protected]
 

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This is off the subject, but will get back to it. First, you can tell the antis are full of $hit when they talk about animal welfare. If they really cared for wildlife in general they would realize developers, corparations, and road systems kill more animals then hunters. Our harvest is based on surplus. The surplus is renewed every spring. Changing of the law to help the grouse is great. They should print in large letters that it is not hunter that caused this decline. Look at quail. There will never be the quail there once was. Farming practices and development. You can have no hunting season would this help. Probably not. Habit is the foundation on which wildlife populations are built. Food, water, cover, and space. This is all that any animal needs. They don't need antis, they need habitat. Which is what our hunter dollars bring. A quote out of the book The Hunter in Conservation. "About 600 million dollars each year for state and federal wildlife programs, about $32.40 per hunter. To illustrate the magnitude of this investment, if all US nonhunters over 16 years of age paid at an equivalent rate, more than $6.1 billion would be available each year. Unfortunately, nonhunters payments are very small compared to that off hunters." If the antis want to help tell them to buy a hunting liscense. Oh Yea! And stop buying those tract house homes. Could you imagine if we sued the developers for loss of our heritage. I hate lawyers, but what if?

Till our trails cross,

WW
 

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Well put WW! AS hunters we know this to be true. It's the Non-hunter/non-anti that we need to teach! The anti's are so caught up in the crap they keep telling themselves they will never be able to Hear the truth! When you talk hunting to an anti it sounds like the teacher on the peanuts cartoons. They hear what they want to hear and whanwhanwhan is what they hear the rest of the conversation! It's those middle people that we need to educate on the benefits of hunting! We need to let them know unlike the anti's we are the ones actually taking care of the natural places and ALL it's creatures! Let them know we are not the blood thirsty animals the anti's make us out to be! Show them how one sided and uneducated about nature the anti mind really is! For what it's worth WW. I hope you decide to stay in NJ and fight the good fight with the rest of us!
 
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