Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Major Professor

Ralph W. Dimmick

Committee Members

Boyd L. Dearden, James L. Byford


Eighty ruffed grouse trapped in southwestern Wisconsin were released on Nathan B. Forrest State Historical Area in Benton County, Tennessee in an effort to restore a population of the species to a portion of its historical range. Trapping, transporting and releasing were accomplished in late August and early September in 1981 and 1982. A total of 871 telemetry locations were made of 19 radio-equipped birds from September through December of both years. Seven of these birds were known to survive longer than 1 month after their release, including one which was alive at its last radio location almost 8 months later. Survival of the radio-equipped birds was probably adversely influenced by the transmitters. Maximum dispersal was 4.0 km. Home ranges for 10 grouse varied from 18.0 to 176.0 ha. Habitat utilized was subjectively classified into 1 of 6 categories based upon structural characteristics. The most intensively used habitats were dense stands of hardwood saplings, found principally on lower slopes and stream bottoms. Also frequented were farkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum) thickets on dry ridges beneath overstories of pine (Pinus spp.) or mature oak (Quercus spp.). Mature upland oak and bottomland hardwood forests offered suitable habitat mainly during early fall when herbaceous and viny thickets provided cover in the understory. Home range sizes, dispersal and daily movements were influenced by the quality of structural cover and seasonal changes within the cover types. Two or more drumming males have been heard each spring since the 1981 release. Future restoration attempts should be conducted where forest management procedures can be targeted towards early successional stages.

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