2016 Upland Game Bird Population Trends – Salmon Region

2016 Conditions – Early spring conditions were cooler and wetter than average. Nesting success and chick survival appears to have been good. As a result, most game bird populations should be above average, with the exception of a stable pheasant population and early migration of doves out of the region.

Upland Game Bird Trend from last year
(2015)
10-Year Trend
(2006-2015)
Comments
Pheasant Stable Stable

There is little pheasant habitat in the Salmon Region and numbers are very low. Pheasants are occasionally harvested on private lands in the lower Lemhi and Pahsimeroi valleys.

Chukar Up Up

Most chukar habitat in the Salmon Region is marginal due to a wide variation in weather conditions.  However, favorable weather last winter and this spring /summer should provide very good chukar hunting this fall.  Hunt near springs and perennial streams early.

Gray Partridge Up Up

Gray partridge are uncommon in the Salmon Region, but appeared to have increased and expanded their range over the last few years.  A few gray partridge are harvested incidentally by chukar hunters.

Forest Grouse (Dusky, Ruffed, Spruce) Up Up

Dusky grouse are the most common forest grouse species in the Salmon Region and are well distributed through most of the drier forested habitats. Dusky grouse production this year appears above average and hunting will be good.  Ruffed and spruce grouse habitat is limited to riparian habitats and moist, high elevation forest types.

Greater Sage-grouse

Up Up

Lek counts were slightly up across most of the region.  Production was up as well due to favorable weather conditions and hunting will be good, particularly around springs.

Mourning Dove

Stable Stable

Upland habitat seed production is early this year due to hot and dry summer weather.  This translates to an early migration and fewer doves will be available for harvest in September.