Extensive Methods of Inventorying Ruffed Grouse in Michigan

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1963
Authors:Ammann, GA, Ryel, LA
Journal:The Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume:27
Issue:4
Date Published:1963
ISBN Number:0022541X
Keywords:Bonasa, Bonasa umbellus, Phasianidae, Philomachus, Philomachus pugnax, Scolopacidae
Abstract:Twelve extensive methods used for inventorying ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) in Michigan are described and their relative merits discussed. Seven were found to be somewhat more useful than the others. Five of these and two variations of a sixth (spring and summer mail-carrier counts) are compared statistically (using correlation coefficients), in each of the two major ruffed grouse-producing regions of the state, to determine degree of association between pairs. Assuming that the hunting-kill estimates represent fall population trends more accurately than other methods (because the sample is large and relatively unbiased), the two mail-carrier surveys and the numbers of broods observed by field men of the Conservation Department and the U. S. Forest Service apparently furnish the most reliable data for predicting fall population trends. Cooperators' hunting records correlate only moderately well with the three counts mentioned; drumming counts and cooperators' opinion surveys show relatively poor correlations. Another method--the strip census-- was carried out in conjunction with deer pellet--deer (Odocoileus virginianus) mortality surveys in two springs. These were stratified random samples covering the entire northern two-thirds of the state, and constitute the only inventory method for which we can estimate confidence limits. The method has promise but requires so much effort that it would be impractical except in conjunction with deer surveys. An adjunct of total brood counts, the average number of chicks per brood, was compared only with hunting-kill estimates and shows no significant correlation with them. We recommend the following minimum plan for inventorying ruffed grouse populations under Michigan or similar conditions: (1) spring mail-carrier counts, (2) June and July brood counts by Conservation Department and U. S. Forest Service personnel, or a late June or early July mail-carrier count of all grouse observed, (3) cooperators' hunting reports, and (4) hunting-kill estimates (from mail survey).
URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/3798477
Short Title:The Journal of Wildlife Management
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