Besides proposing a lead shot ban on some state wildlife lands, the DNR also is taking comments on a proposal to raise possession limits for a number of small game species to three times the daily bag limit — something the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did to waterfowl possession limits two years ago.

“We’re essentially following suit to maintain consistency among our small game species,” said the DNR’s Jason Abraham. “Under the proposal, possession limits for all small game species, including waterfowl, would be three times the daily bag limit.”

That would increase the ruffed and spruce grouse possession limit from 10 to 15; increase the sharp-tailed grouse possession limit from six to nine; and increase the gray partridge possession limit from 10 to 15.

It also would increase the cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare possession limit from 20 to 30; decrease the jack rabbit possession limit from 20 to three, with not more than one jack rabbit taken per day; and increase the combined gray and fox squirrel possession limit from 14 to 21. More information: www.mndnr.gov/input/rules/wildlife.

Ruffed grouse woes

Ruffed grouse harvest per hunter at the Ruffed Grouse Society’s 34th annual National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt last week headquartered in Grand Rapids was the second lowest on record. Officials said an examination of harvested birds shows reproduction last spring was poor.

That conflicts with earlier reports that suggested reproduction might have been good and bird numbers were on the rise.

“I was shocked,” said Ted Dick, DNR forest game coordinator. “I don’t know what to make of it. It looks like young birds aren’t there.”

At the two-day hunt, 102 hunters shot 149 ruffed grouse (a 0.73 grouse per day average), the second-lowest total ever. Despite the poor report, Dick said, “Hunting has been better than last year.”

He said high winds this week took down most of the leaves in the Grand Rapids area, which will help hunters.

Hunters at the national event also shot 357 woodcock, averaging 1.7 per day, similar to the long-term average.