NEWS

Sage grouse chick production declines in 2016

New data on the Wyoming sage grouse population reveals bird numbers will likely decline in the coming year based on an analysis of sage grouse wings provided by hunters.

12/19/2016 4:12:21 PM

Cheyenne - New data on the Wyoming sage grouse population reveals bird numbers will likely decline in the coming year based on an analysis of sage grouse wings provided by hunters. This follows three years of population increases. In 2016, there were 0.9 chicks per hen, down from 1.7-1.8 documented in 2014 and 2015. This ratio is near the low of 0.8 chicks per hen noted in 2012. The 10-year average, from 2006-2015, was 1.2 chicks per hen. Grouse numbers declined in most of those years.

The generally cold and wet spring likely reduced nest success and chick survival.

“Spring moisture is a double-edged sword,” said Tom Christiansen, sage grouse program coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “It helps the habitat, but if it is too cold and wet, hens abandon flooded nests and newly hatched chicks die from exposure.”

Researchers following radio-marked sage grouse across the state also reported low nest success and chick survival in 2016.

Hunters contribute to the management of sage grouse by assisting the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the data collection through legal, regulated hunting. Wing data is gathered from hunters who voluntarily deposit wings in barrels scattered across central and southwest Wyoming. Over 2,000 wings were deposited in 2016.

“While it is unfortunate to see the decline in chick production, sage grouse populations in Wyoming appear to cycle, and we experienced three consecutive years of growth from 2014-2016 and so a downturn is not unexpected,” Christiansen said. “We appreciate hunters who provided wings. Their participation helps us manage the bird and build on previous years’ data.”

--
Photo: Saratoga Wildlife Biologist, Will Schultz, Sinclair Wildlife Biologist, Greg Hiatt and Sage-Grouse GIS Analyst, Nyssa Whitford from Lander examine and record the age and sex of harvested sage-grouse wings at the annual Wyoming Game and Fish Department Sage-Grouse Wing Bee held annually at the Yellowtail Wildlife Habitat Management Area near Lovell.

(Wyoming Game and Fish (307) 777-4600)

- WGFD -


Game and Fish Commission invests in mule deer habitat and migration research

Commission also directs agency to draft new regulation for technologies

Continue reading...




CWD found in a new deer hunt area near Sundance

Game and Fish continues to notify hunters of new areas where CWD is found

Continue reading...




Hunters help manage herds through tooth aging program

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking select hunters statewide to donate teeth from their harvested mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, bison, mountain lions, black bears and bobcats. 

Continue reading...




2019 Wyoming Wildlife calendar available now

The 2019 Wyoming Wildlife calendar is hot off the press. 

Continue reading...




CWD found in a second new deer hunt area near Kaycee

Game and Fish continues to notify hunters of new areas where CWD is found

Continue reading...




Wyoming develops creative partnership to advance wetlands conservation

In an effort to conserve wetlands, three wildlife organizations came together to solve challenges. 

Continue reading...




Waterfowl hunters help with conservation and habitat when purchasing licenses and stamps

If you are packing for an upcoming waterfowl hunting trip, be sure you have all your licenses and stamps before heading out.

Continue reading...




New statewide sage grouse and sagebrush biologist named at Game and Fish

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department recently selected a new statewide sage grouse and sagebrush biologist.

Continue reading...






Game and Fish Commission to meet in Casper

The public is invited to attend meeting and open house

 

Continue reading...




Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Stay up to date on all Wyoming Game and Fish news either by email or text message. Click the link below to get started.

Sign Up Today

SHOP WYOMING GAME & FISH STORE   SHOP NOW!

Conserving Wildlife - Serving People