Date of Award:

1948

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Advisor/Chair:

Jessop B. Low

Abstract

The measurement of animal populations is a most important phase of wildlife management. The initiation of systematic management of any unit of specific game habitat usually involves the measurement of the stock on hand as a primary step. In practice game inventory performs a twofold function; namely, as a medium determining the efficacy of past managment practices as a basis for future manipulations and as an aid in the establishment of game protective or removal policies. A census, in the sense applied in this study, is best defined as the enumeration of a population on a given area at a given time. Varied methods and proceducres have been developed and applied in this and other countries as aids in the determination of actual and relative pheasant numbers. No one method yet devised may be considered of adequate flexibility to confrom to all variances in habitat inherent in the range of bionomical relationships tolerated by the ringnecked pheasant. Geographical location, meterological factors, agricultural practices, and topographical features are gross causations requiring institutive investigations of a basic character as a requisite to accurate determination of population numbers on any specific area. Investigators are cognizant of the necessity for adapting techniques to the variations in pheasant habitat appropriate for different locales: the roadside count as applied in Ohio was not considered to be the best method in Oregon and the quadrat census as applied in Oregon was not considered to be the best in Ohio. In addition to the limitations imposed by the major causation factors are other less general considerations; i.e., the specificity of data required and the economical expenditure of time and personnel. With but two exceptions-California valley quail, (Lephortyx californica), and Gambel's quail, (Lephortyx gambeli),-the ringnecked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus tercustus Onelin) is the sole upland game bird present in Utah in sufficient numbers to be legally hunted. The sporting qualities attributed to the pheasant and its adaptability to agrarian habitat have resulted in the expenditure of thousands of dollars by state authorities and private individuals to produce breeding and hunting stock. Management, however, has not kept pace with production. Laxity is notably evident in the development and application of sound inventory methods based on a program of fundamental, objective research. The determination of the effect of climatological factors on observed bird populations has too often been based upon casual and infrequent observations without support of quantitative evidence. A similar condition exists in other ecological relatinoships: i.e., interaction between agricultural practices, climatic conditions, and nesting period and the effect of minor climatic aberrations upon observed pheasant numbers tabulated during census counts. The wildlife technician recognizes the presence of such biotic influences but often because of duties of a broader nature the intesive investigation that is required in a basic research study is denied him. In order to formulate improved census techniques for the pheasants in Utah, the Utah Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit has felt the need for intesive study whereby graphical and statistical analysis of the concomitant variables inherent in present inventory techniques would provide basic information and a foundation for improvement of existing pheasant census methods.

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