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Author Topic: Famed grouse researcher recognized with kiosk at Mille Lacs WMA  (Read 1163 times)

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Offline mudbrook

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Famed grouse researcher recognized with kiosk at Mille Lacs WMA
« on: October 14, 2010, 03:16:48 PM »
Famed grouse researcher recognized with kiosk at Mille Lacs WMA

Gordon Gullion?s footfalls haven?t been heard in the Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for 20 years. But without his pioneering research, today?s grouse hunters likely would find their fall walks through those woods a lot less enjoyable.
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Mille Lacs WMA

That?s why the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) and Federal Premium Ammunition honored Gullion on Wednesday, Oct. 13, with the dedication of an informational kiosk at the Mille Lacs WMA headquarters near Onamia.

?Gullion was a world-renowned researcher whose work at Mille Lacs has helped sustain Minnesota as one of the top grouse hunting destination in the country,? said DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten. ?His work was instrumental in developing forest management practices that benefit ruffed grouse.?

Gullion, a University of Minnesota professor, headed the forestry wildlife project at the Cloquet Forestry Center for 32 years. He conducted a management-oriented study of ruffed grouse and its habitat relationships that was unequalled in duration and intensity. His research, much of conducted in the 39,000 acre Mille Lacs WMA, clearly identified the influence of specific habitat components, especially aspen, on grouse.

The two-panel kiosk located on the circle drive in front of the WMA?s headquarters gives an overview of Gullion?s ruffed grouse research and discusses the importance of habitat to the bird?s lifecycle.

?Mille Lacs is the ideal place to highlight the benefits of forest management to wildlife, particularly grouse, because much of Gullion?s work was done right here,? said Dan Dessecker, director of conservation policy for the RGS. ?His research clearly demonstrated the important relationships between ruffed grouse populations and aspen.?

Since 1949, Mille Lacs has served as a flagship WMA. For many people, particularly in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, it?s the first place they are introduced to Minnesota?s forests and grouse hunting. More than 60 percent of its users are from the metropolitan area.

RGS received a grant from Federal to fund the kiosk. The grant is part of the Minnesota-based ammunition company?s effort to highlight science-based management and show how critical applied research is to habitat for wildlife and recreation.

?Grouse habitat just doesn?t happen,? said Ryan Bronson, Federal?s conservation manager. ?It takes work. It takes money. Sportsmen need to understand that part of the money they pay for firearms and ammunition is for the Pittman-Robertson excise tax, which helps fund habitat work and wildlife management that make recreation possible.?

Gullion?s research helped the DNR formulate its approach to forest management practices that benefit ruffed grouse. Of Minnesota?s 15.6 million acres of timberland, 6 million acres have aspen, balm and birch cover. Grouse seek cover in young aspen forests and the resinous buds are a primary food source.

Ruffed grouse is one of Minnesota most sought after game species. Supported by habitat that grouse prefer, Minnesota is tops among all states in the average number of grouse harvested per hunter each year.

Because habitat that supports grouse and the bird itself are important resources, the DNR and RGS have partnered to create a new ruffed grouse coordinator position at the DNR. The coordinator allows both organizations to better focus on habitat for game and non-game species and promote the continuation of abundant grouse and woodcock hunting opportunities.

?The people, practices and places Gullion?s work influenced over the many years of his research are one of the reasons I have this opportunity,? said Ted Dick, the DNR?s ruffed grouse coordinator. ?I?m here to work with others who share an interest in healthy forests and quality grouse habitat.?
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