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Keywords:

  • blue grouse;
  • Bonasa umbellus;
  • Dendragopus obscurus;
  • dusky grouse;
  • harvest ratios;
  • immature;
  • Oregon;
  • productivity;
  • ruffed grouse

Abstract

Ratio of immature (young of the year) grouse to adult birds (I:A) in the harvest of upland game birds is commonly used as an index to annual reproduction; however, I:A ratios can vary as the season progresses producing biased estimates. We analyzed I:A ratios in the daily harvest of dusky grouse (Dendragopus obscurus) and ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) in northeastern Oregon over 28 years (1981–2008) and found that I:A ratios in the harvest declined for both species as the hunting season progressed. We also analyzed ratios of adult female to adult male (AF:AM) grouse to determine if female and male grouse were harvested in equal numbers throughout the harvest season. We found that more males than females of both species were harvested, but that AF:AM ratio of both dusky and ruffed grouse did not change during most of the hunting season. Approximately 50% of the annual harvest occurred during the first 14 days of the hunting season. Therefore, we recommend using the ratios of I:A birds in the first 14 days of the harvest season as the best index to annual reproduction of forest grouse in northeast Oregon. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.