Upland Bird Forecast - Upper Snake Region

Upper Snake Region

2019 Conditions – Winter conditions in 2018-2019 varied across the region. Those areas east of I-15 saw fairly severe winter conditions with significant snow accumulations and crusting. The west side of I-15 had more average to moderate conditions. Average to above average snow levels and cooler spring temperatures saw snow pack persist later than usual. These conditions could have had negative impacts to nest success, but should have provided good habitat conditions for brood survival if broods did successfully hatch. Late summer was warmer and dry, but likely not enough to counter the moist spring and good habitat conditions coming out of spring and early summer. All things considered upland bird production and hunting should be about average in the Upper Snake for fall 2019.

Pheasant

  • Trend from last year (2018): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2010-2019): Stable
  • There are no surveys conducted for pheasant in the Upper Snake and last year’s harvest data indicates declines in both hunters and harvest. The Upper Snake Region continues to stock approximately 2,500 pheasants per year on Mud Lake WMA, Market Lake WMA, and Cartier WMA. Areas that hold pheasant in the Upper Snake have reported many good sized broods. Pheasant hunting should be average to slightly below across the Region this year.

Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse

  • Trend from last year (2018): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2010-2019): Stable
  • There was lek monitoring completed in numerous areas across the Region suggesting sharp-tailed grouse numbers have remained relatively stable over the last five years in normal attendance numbers. Above average spring precipitation may have negatively affected nesting in some areas but likely resulted in good brood rearing conditions. The Upper Snake region in a stronghold for sharp-tailed grouse in Idaho, although CRP acreage has declined in recent years. The best hunting is typically in CRP fields that have green alfalfa and/or other forbs, and in more native sagebrush-steppe habitats. If CRP fields are relatively dry, hunters should expect movements of sharp-tailed grouse up into areas where green forbs can still be found (mountain shrub communities). Bird numbers on and around Tex Creek WMA should be rebounding from the 2016 fire.

Chukar

  • Trend from last year (2018): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2010-2019): Stable
  • Chukar numbers remain low in the Upper Snake and harvest data over the last five years suggest stable numbers. No chukar surveys are conducted in the Upper Snake Region.

Gray Partridge (Hun)

  • Trend from last year (2018): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2010-2019): Stable
  • There are no surveys conducted for gray partridge in the Upper Snake, but harvest data over the past five years suggest numbers have been stable. Regional biologists have reported seeing broods regularly in late August and early September.

Forest Grouse (Dusky, Ruffed, Spruce)

  • Trend from last year (2018): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2010-2019): Stable
  • No surveys are conducted for forest grouse in the Upper Snake, but harvest data over the past five years suggests relatively stable numbers. Hunters have reported large numbers of young birds, suggesting good productivity for Ruffed Grouse within the region. With large tracts of suitable habitat, the Upper Snake region should continue to offer good forest grouse hunting in 2019.