MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota's grouse population is nearing the bottom of a natural cycle and wildlife officials expect a smaller-than-usual harvest this hunting season, a state wildlife official said.
John Erb, a wildlife research biologist for the Department of Natural Resources, said the grouse population is at or near the bottom of a natural ten-year cycle. The grouse population index is down 11 percent from last year and the 2001 population was down 40 percent from the year before.
Hunters should find fewer birds in the woods this fall and likely will harvest fewer than in recent years, Erb said. Last year, hungers harvested only about 331,000 birds compared with nearly 1 million in 1998.
Erb said the population should begin to rebound in a year or two.
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