New info shows rise in sage grouse chick production | TSLN.com

New info shows rise in sage grouse chick production

A tool used to monitor sage grouse populations and specifically chick production shows sage grouse hens had the most chicks per hen since 2005. This is the result of an analysis of the age and gender of sage grouse that were harvested in Wyoming in 2014.

The study of sage grouse ages and chick to hen ratios is a study the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has done for many years. This year the ratio of chicks to hens is 1.7:1, which is the highest since ratio since 2005 and over double the 0.8 chicks per hen documented in 2012.

"This study is another example of how hunting can help us to manage a species. In this case the analysis of hunter harvested wing ages and gender predicts that Wyoming should see more sage grouse in their mating areas in 2015," Tom Christiansen Sage-Grouse Program Manager for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said. "This information helps us to understand the overall health and productivity of sage grouse populations."

Game and Fish attributes the increase to much more favorable moisture patterns this past spring and summer. During their first month of life, newly hatched sage grouse chicks rely on a high protein diet provided by insects. Spring and summer rain leads to increased grass and forb (wildflower) production which leads to more insects available for young birds.

Sage grouse mating areas are called leks and this latest information follows earlier documentation showing an increase in sage grouse on leks in 2014.

Wyoming allows conservative hunting of sage grouse in certain parts of the state.

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–Wyoming Game and Fish