Experimental Relocation of Ruffed Grouse to the Georgia Piedmont

Forty-five ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) were relocated in late summer 1984 from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Piedmont of Georgia to assess the feasibility of establishing huntable populations. Nineteen radio-equipped birds survived 2 to 183 days (x = 82 days). Radio-monitored grouse preferred hardwood scrub habitats, sparse hardwood sawtimber, and bottomland hardwoods-all of which had high understory stem densities. Unradioed grouse were observed periodically from release until spring of 1985, but there was no evidence of reproduction. A grouse also was seen in the study area 2 years after the release (August 1986). Survival and moderate range sizes, dispersal, and daily movements indicated that the study area was capable of supporting grouse at least through early spring. However, heavy losses to predators occurred during late fall and winter. The number of grouse released may have been insufficient to sustain overwinter losses and reproduce successfully.

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