Does anyone have a good handle on what the population cycles are like for grouse in AK? I know the hares run in 10 year cycles, but I'm not real familiar with the grouse population swings and how severe they are compared to the hares.
The other question I have is, has anyone else noticed the spruce grouse seem to be lower this year, but the ruffed grouse seem to be much higher than I have ever seen around where I live in the valley?
In the past I have only seen a few ruffed grouse here and there once in a blue moon. But this year I have seen a lot of them.
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy eating the ruffed grouse more than the spruce grouse, but I know that the spruce grouse are native to the Matanuska Valley and the ruffed grouse were actually introduced.
So, I am wondering if it is possible that the ruffed grouse is outcompeting the spruce grouse in the area. Again, I'm sure that would be a bad thing, but at the same time, when a nonnative species sometimes outcompetes a native one, sometimes there can be devastating effects for the balance of the ecosystem.
Remove one link in the food web, and the whole system can come unraveled.
I'm not trying to sound like a bunny hugger or anything, just wondering what other people think about this.