The relationship between prairie grouse and land use was studied during the period 1964-71. Prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) declined from 48 males in 1964 to none in 1971. Sharp-tailed grouse (Pedioecetes phasianellus) declined from 166 males in 1964 to 57 in 1971. These declines were related to the decline in vigor and eventual loss of Soil Bank habitat on the study area. Two new courtship grounds, established near fields recently retired under the Cropland Adjustment Program, were used by 44 percent of the male sharp-tailed grouse population in 1971. Hay lands on the study area did not support prairie grouse. Pasture lands were of no apparent value to prairie chickens and of limited value to sharp-tailed grouse. Management for prairie grouse should be directed toward developing and maintaining vigorous grass-forb communities on retired croplands and native prairie.
Additional publication details
Land use and prairie grouse population relationships in North Dakota