Date of this Version
Remnant populations of the greater prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) in Kansas are managed to maintain population size while providing recreational hunting potential. Our aim in this study was to evaluate the effect of adding an early hunting season (late September-October) to the regular season (November-late January). We compared the hunting methods used and the harvest of greater prairie chickens during early and regular hunting seasons for 1990-91 and 1991-92. The use of dogs and walkup hunting techniques were emphasized in early season, whereas pass shooting in feeding fields was emphasized in the regular season. During early season, the reported harvest was composed predominantly of males (55-74%) and juveniles (60-67%). During regular season, the harvest was also composed of more males than females (60% for both years), but it had a similar proportion of adults to juveniles (50-58%). The ratio of males:females varied between each seasons for the two years analyzed. However, the ratio of juveniles:adults was similar between years and larger during early season than during regular season. Juvenile survival is generally lower than adult survival; so, harvesting a larger proportion of juveniles during the early season may mitigate some of the effect of an extended hunting season.