Connelly, J.W., Reese, K.P., Garton, E.O. & Commons-Kemner, M.L. 2003: Response of greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus populations to different levels of exploitation in Idaho, USA. - Wildl. Biol. 9: 335-340.
We investigated the response of greater sage-grouse Centrocercus urophasianus populations to different levels of exploitation. From 1995 through 2002 we monitored breeding populations in areas closed to hunting, open to limited hunting (1-bird daily bag limit; 7-day season), and open to moderate hunting (2-bird daily bag limit; 23-day season). We used three approaches to assess the effects of hunting on sage-grouse populations. Results were consistent regardless of the method used and indicated that overall, areas closed to hunting had greater rates of increase for breeding populations than areas open to hunting (P = 0.018). Limited or moderate rates of exploitation apparently slowed population recovery for sage-grouse. These effects may have been more pronounced for grouse occupying relatively xeric habitats close to human population centers or highly fragmented habitats. Our results suggest that hunting seasons for sage-grouse should generally be conservative and reflect both sage-grouse population trend and quality of habitat occupied by the population.
Key words: Centrocercus urophasianus, exploitation, greater sage-grouse, hunting, Idaho, lek counts, population
John W. Connelly, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 1345 Barton Road, Pocatello, Idaho 83221, USA - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerry P. Reese & Edward O. Garton, Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83844, USA - e-mail addresses: email@example.com (Kerry P. Reese); firstname.lastname@example.org (Edward O. Garton)
Michelle L. Commons-Kemner, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 1515 Lincoln Road, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401, USA - e-mail: email@example.com
Corresponding author: John W. Connelly