Reliability of Established Aging and Sexing Methods in Ruffed Grouse

Published methods for aging and sexing ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) have not been tested on a large sample of birds from the Southeast. We evaluated several methods in a hunter-donated sample of 268 birds from eastern Tennessee. Age and sex determined by individual techniques were compared to necropsy findings. Results of aging techniques ranged from 3.3% to 39% error. Sexing error ranged from 1.3% to 24%. Results were generally not as accurate as those reported from the northern United States due largely to juveniles with adult traits and females with male traits. Use of most traditional methods may lead to underestimates of juveniles and females. The sample was classified 39% juvenile and 45% female.

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