By Joe Healy
After many years of population declines, Missouri’s ruffed grouse finally may be seeing a turnaround. This past year, in a collaborative effort between the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF), of Buffalo, Missouri, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), 100 ruffed grouse were relocated from Wisconsin to Missouri’s Daniel Boone Conservation Area, in Warren County.
QUWF credits more than a decade of hard work, constant fundraising, generous sponsors, cooperative landowners and MDC personnel with the success of the effort. Craig Alderman, a research biologist and the founder and executive director of QUWF, cites in particular support from Ruger Firearms and personal interest from Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris.
According to Alderman: “Our plan this year is to capture another 100 grouse and bring them down to Missouri and release them. We have a grouse coop right now of about 110 to 112 members that encompasses about 100,000 acres, and we’ve been doing extremely intensive timber-improvement work to prepare for a minimum of a 25-year plan for the grouse to stay, adapt and grow . . . . Between the chapters and the private landowners, I’d say we’ve seen an investment of well over $2 million in timber harvest and getting lands ready.”
QUWF is the only disabled American veteran founded and managed conservation organization in the US. “This is what we formed QUWF for—to put professional biologists and staff together with local, passionate members and enthusiasts willing to put their shoulder to the task and solve it with their raised money,” said Nick Prough, QUWF’s chief wildlife biologist.