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Sage Grouse Winter Movements and Habitat Use in Central Montana

Robert L. Eng and Philip Schladweiler
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 36, No. 1 (Jan., 1972), pp. 141-146
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3799198
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3799198
Page Count: 6
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Sage Grouse Winter Movements and Habitat Use in Central Montana
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Abstract

Movements and habitat use by sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) were studied in central Montana during the winters of 1965-66 and 1966-67. Two and three female sage grouse were radio-equipped and tracked during the two respective winters. Winter ranges of the five instrumented females ranged from approximately 2,615 to 7,760 acres. A 4-square-mile primary study area, containing over half of the relocations of the five instrumented birds, was separated into two big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) canopy cover classes on 16-inch: 1-mile aerial photographs. Fifty-five percent of the primary study area was in the more dense (over 20 percent canopy coverage) and 45 percent in the less dense (under 20 percent canopy coverage) category. Observed use of the two canopy coverage classes was significantly (P < 0.01) different, a decided preference for the more dense stands being indicated. The characteristics of central Montana sage grouse winter areas (large expanses of dense sagebrush with little if any slope) make them prime targets of sagebrush control programs. Removal of sagebrush from these areas would greatly reduce their capacity to support wintering sage grouse.

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