Ruffed grouse Bonasa umbellus densities were determined in four study sites in Tennessee during 1983-1993, two in eastern Kentucky during 1989-1995, and one in northern Georgia during 1976-1982. Intensive counts of drumming males were conducted 2-4 times per week from late March to mid-May. The peak drumming period occurred during mid-April. Mean numbers of drumming males over the study period combining all areas within each state were: Georgia: 1.8/100 ha (0.08 - 2.8); Tennessee: 1.3/100 ha (0 - 3.1); Kentucky: 2.8/100 ha (1.2 - 4.0). The influence of forest harvest on population density was measured on two study areas in Tennessee. Pre-harvest densities of drumming males were measured on one area for four years prior to forest harvest and for seven years post-harvest, and for 11 years in an adjacent study site with no harvest. Mean population density in the control area varied over the 11-year study period from 0 to 1.1 males/100 ha, but did not change markedly from 1983 (0.9) to 1993 (1.1). The experimental area initially had a low population (0 = 0.2 males/100 ha), but density increased steadily following the clearcutting of several small patches in 1986. In 1993, a density of 3.1 males/100 ha was estimated in this experimental area, a 15-fold increase from the pre-harvest grouse density.
Key words: Bonasa umbellus, drumming males, forest harvest, population densities, ruffed grouse, southern Appalachian Mountains
Ralph W. Dimmick & William G. Minser, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37901, USA
Jeffrey D. Sole, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Rt 1, Game Farm Road, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601, USA
Phillip E. Hale, School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA