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Grouse and the Hazel brush connection

March 12, 2018

Ok... I like hazel nut coffee... but I like to find grouse in the hazel brush!  My favorite late season habitat is hazel brush near pines and a mix of hardwoods and aspen.  Makes for some exciting hunts.

 

To give hazelnuts their due here are some facts. Hazelnuts is the second largest nut crop worldwide being used in confectioner, coffee, oils and eaten raw and roasted.  It was also used in formulating cough syrup by the pioneers and the native American tribes.

 

Here in Wisconsin we typically have two types of hazel brush:  American (Corylus Americana) and Beaked (Corylus cornuta).  These shrubs like well drained soil.  They typically like full sun and will tolerate a little bit of shade. These shrubs can be found in the understory of more mature birch, aspen and oak forest.  However, in my area I also find them in the transition from aspen to hardwoods and in more mature hardwoods that have openings. 

 

Interesting enough the American and Beaked Hassel brush is considered a member of the birch shrubs.

 As you can see from the above picture the American hazelnut (red arrow) is taller than the Beaked hazelnut (yellow arrow).  The  picture below shows the larger fruit of the American hazelnut and the smaller fruit of the Beaked hazelnut

 

 The long catkin on the left is from the American Hazelnut and the smaller catkin on the right is from the Beaked hazelnut.

 

Above is a picture of the hazel nuts and the hulls.

 

Now the question is how does one locate this brush that forms a secondary canopy that offers the grouse protection while feeding on the catkins?  If you are using Google earth imagery locate imagery that is "Leaf Off".  A full canopy of green aspen leaves will not allow you to locate the hazel brush.  Below is an example of what a patch of hazel brush looks like.  Hazel brush is not very easy to identify.

 

Very few forestry departments make note of a shrub component within a stand.  However, in Minnesota state lands this is being identified.  I have included this layer in the Minnesota Scout N Hunt state land data. Below is an example of how the Scout N Hunt hazel brush layer which can help you locate this prime late season habitat.

For myself I always like this brush component in a forest and it is especially beneficial in late season hunting.

 

 

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