A WDFW grouse wing and tail collection barrel is seen at Forest Service Road 29 in Clallam County. (Michael Foster/WDFW)
A WDFW grouse wing and tail collection barrel is seen at Forest Service Road 29 in Clallam County. (Michael Foster/WDFW)
A WDFW grouse wing and tail collection barrel is seen at Forest Service Road 29 in Clallam County. (Michael Foster/WDFW)

A perfect match: grouse hunting and science

Wing and tail collection helps population monitoring

NOTE: Wildfires are burning in areas throughout Washington, causing some public lands closures. If you are planning an annual hunting trip or another outdoor adventure, first check that your destination is open. Stay tuned to local news sources for evolving information as conditions and closures can change quickly. Up-to-date information on wildfires in Washington is available on the InciWeb site. WDFW has created a webpage for our wildlife areas that are currently impacted and will keep it updated as we receive new information. Our thoughts are with those affected by these fires as they work to recover.

If you hunt forest grouse this fall, you can help us monitor grouse populations by depositing one wing and tail of each grouse harvested into collection barrels placed around the state.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife collects wings and tails of hunter-harvested forest grouse (spruce, ruffed, dusky and sooty species) during the Sept. 1-Dec. 31 hunting season. A wing and tail from each grouse can tell us the species, sex, and age of the bird.

The goal of this collection effort is to evaluate trends in harvest composition that can inform population management. Thanks to hunters like you, we’ve collected samples from more than 3,700 grouse over the last couple years. These data combined with other factors such as wildfire and weather patterns are critical for monitoring trends and informing management of grouse populations.

A ruffed grouse scans its surroundings.
A ruffed grouse scans its surroundings.
Hunters have helped WDFW collect samples from more than 3,700 grouse over the last couple years.

Directions and diagrams are provided at barrels to help you collect your samples. Place samples in the paper bag provided at wing barrels or any paper bag. Use one bag for each bird. Avoid using plastic bags — especially sealable bags — because they speed up decay.

On the outside of the bag, please write down:

· The species of grouse

· The game management unit (GMU) where the grouse was harvested

· The county where the grouse was harvested

· The date of the harvest

Place the bag in a collection barrel or drop it off at any WDFW district or regional office. If neither of these are options the day of harvest, please refrigerate or freeze the parts until you can drop them off at a different time.

Click here to find a wing barrel location near you.

Thank you for helping this effort, and we wish you a safe and successful hunting season!

As hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts, all of us here at the WDFW share your desire to get outdoors. Please practice physical distancing when in the field. Thank you for doing your part to keep Washingtonians safe and healthy!

For more information on responsible recreation, visit https://www.recreateresponsibly.org/.

#RecreateResponsibly #ResponsibleRecreation

Written by

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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