Save Our Shawnee Forest Organization responds to the Gilbert Symons Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society Endorsing timber harvesting in Shawnee State Forest
The Ruffed Grouse Society’s mission is, “to promote conditions suitable for Ruffed Grouse, American Woodcock and related wildlife to sustain our sport hunting tradition and outdoor heritage.”
The Ruffed Grouse Society’s mission as you can see has a very limited scope that only benefits people who hunt Ruffed Grouse and American Woodcock. Mother Earth cannot be managed only to benefit one or two species. To try to benefit one will hurt others.
According to Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “there are approximately 175 bird species that nest in Ohio and about 100 of these species are dependent on some state of Forested habitat. Forest fragmentation (logging in Shawnee’s case) has been associated with reductions in abundance and distribution of birds throughout the Midwestern United states. Species restricted to the interiors of
mature woodlands may disappear from fragmented forests or suffer high rates of nest predation or parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird.”
On the other hand some species such as Ruffed Grouse may benefit from more brushy areas. So should we play God / Mother Nature and decide which species lives and which species become extinct?
The Save Our Shawnee Forest Organization’s mission is, “to save and protect Shawnee State Forest for this and future generations.” We want the citizens of Ohio to have their largest and best suited state forest saved as a natural forest, where all plants and species may take their natural place.
Ruffed Grouse southwest chapter Chairman said these logged areas of the forest benefit the American Burying Beetle. There are no known American Burying Beetles in Shawnee Forest. According to Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR),” the last American Burying Beetle was reported in 1974 near
Old Man’s Cave in Hocking County. Also according to ODNR this species is known as a generalist, living in many types of habitat, but with a slight preference for grasslands and the open understory of oak- hickory forests.” Open understory would be found in a mature forest. Ohio State University is trying to reintroduce this species.
The species that the Ruffed Grouse chapter wants to make more plentiful, American Woodcock and Ruffed Grouse are near the edge of their range in Shawnee Forest. According to ODNR the American Woodcock is best seen and hunted in Trumbull, Gallia, Williams and Marion Counties. ODNR listed the
migratory game bird as rare in Scioto and Adams counties.
According to ODNR Scioto and Adams counties are listed as “medium” for populations of Grouse. There are no counties in Ohio listed as “high” for viewing and hunting opportunities.
As Chief of the Division of Forestry has commented after the Save Our Shawnee Forest Organization took our Stop the Clear-cut petitions to the governor’s office, “we have been clear-cutting in Shawnee Forest for decades.” So if this type of forest management is good for Grouse, then walking through Shawnee Forest looking for Grouse should be like walking through a barnyard full of chickens. But it
seems just the opposite is true. Three of us were out in Shawnee a few weeks ago and ran into some Grouse hunters from Cincinnati. They did not have their guns and I believe they were just looking an area over. They told us they hunted in Shawnee a lot and there just wasn’t any Grouse anymore.
We cannot and should not try to change an ecology suit our purposes, to try to do so puts all species in partial.
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