Whether carrying a shotgun or binoculars, there are few greater thrills than flushing one of these cryptically colored upland game birds. And to an unsuspecting beginner, flushing a grouse or woodcock can be unnerving because they often sit tight until almost stepped upon.
Since 1961 the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) has championed these two young forest species, but the grouse always seemed to get top billing. The RGS recently announced the creation of the American Woodcock Society (AWS) as a branch of the RGS.
According to RGS/AWS President and CEO John Eichinger, "The RGS has been a leader in woodcock conservation for decades. The creation of the AWS allows us to expand our work because woodcock are migratory birds. Grouse and woodcock don't coexist across their entire ranges, especially in the south, so the AWS will allow us to expand our influence into new areas. Furthermore, the work we do benefits not just grouse and woodcock, but all forest wildlife, including many songbirds."
RGS and AWS membership is open to anyone who values forest wildlife. Dues for each organization are $35 per year, and Eichinger told me a lower priced double membership is planned. For details, call 412-262-4044 or visit www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.
Shalaway can be heard 8 to 10 a.m. Saturdays on 1370 WVLY-AM (Wheeling) or online at http://tunein.com/radio/WVLY-1370-s23555/. Visit www.drshalaway.com or contact him at sshala...@aol.com or 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033.