Wyoming sage grouse population expected to decline in 2017

New data on the Wyoming sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) population reveals bird numbers will likely decline in the coming year based on an analysis of sage grouse wings provided by hunters. 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. 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.
Source: KGWN, December 20, 2016