Preliminary Evaluation of Ruffed Grouse Restoration Efforts in Arkansas

Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) restoration efforts were initiated in Arkansas in 1981, with the relocation of 50 wild-trapped birds from Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Virginia to a release site in Newton County, Arkansas, along the Buffalo National River. In 1982, restoration efforts continued with the release of 67 Wild-trapped grouse captured in Virginia and Minnesota. These birds were released on the Buffalo National River site and on the Ozark National Forest in Johnson County. Population monitoring, particularly winter censuses and spring drumming surveys, documented minimum first year survival rates of 24.0% and 20.0%, respectively, for the 2 release sites. From 1982 to 1983, the number of birds observed, indirectly and directly, on the Buffalo National River site during winter censuses and spring drumming surveys indicates the birds are not only maintaining themselves, but are increasing. During April 1983, 1 male, mirror-trapped, had survived for 18 months, and 2 of 5 birds observed were unbanded juveniles.

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