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Ruffed grouse population count low as season opens

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Minnesota's annual season for ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and other small game opened Sept. 14. The state Department of Natural Resources anticipates that it may not be a productive season for hunters.

The Pioneer Press, citing a story from Forum News, reported that grouse numbers are down across the state. Ruffed grouse populations typically follow a 10-year cycle of boom and bust, and this year is thought to be the low point in the cycle. In addition, a damp and chilly late spring and early summer created a stressful environment for chicks.

Meanwhile, on Friday the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa confirmed that it will not hold a moose hunt. The Duluth News Tribune reported that the band made it's decision because moose numbers across the state have dropped sharply.

The DNR announced last winter it would cancel its hunt after an annual survey found the moose population fell by 35 percent in one year. Scientists are studying hundreds of GPS-collared moose to find out what is contributing to the decline.

Earlier this month, the Grand Portage Band also cancelled its moose hunt.

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