Population status and management practices affecting sharp-tailed grouse Tympanuchus phasianellus were ascertained from a survey of biologists from 28 states and provinces within the historic range in North America. Populations have been extirpated from five states/provinces and have declined in 10 others. Habitat loss or fragmentation and livestock grazing practices were identified as major causes of declines. Eight states or provinces having cyclic or stable populations were primarily from northern latitudes where anthropogenic influences may be less severe. Recent population increases in five states/provinces resulted primarily from conversion of agricultural cropland to grasslands under the Cropland Reserve Program initiated in 1985 which primarily affected southern populations of T. p. jamesi and T. p. columbianus. The most common management activities practised included breeding surveys (18 states/provinces), harvest surveys (12 states/provinces), habitat management or restoration (11 states/provinces), and transplants (11 states/provinces). Brood surveys and food plantings were not common management practices (5 and 4 responses, respectively). Only 13 states/provinces reported having conducted research on sharp-tailed grouse in the last 10 years, with most investigating seasonal movements and habitat use. Six states/provinces reported no research or management activities specifically directed at sharp-tailed grouse. Seasons varied from 17 days to 7 months with daily bag limits of 1-10 grouse in states/provinces with hunting seasons. Estimated annual harvest (>260,000) of T. p. jamesi from five states/provinces exceeded that of all other sharp-tailed grouse subspecies combined.
Key words: habitat, harvest, management, populations, sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus
Kenneth M. Giesen, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 317 West Prospect Road, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526, USA
Gerald D. Kobriger, North Dakota Game & Fish Department, 225 30th Avenue SW, Dickenson, North Dakota 58601, USA