Obtaining timely and accurate assessment of sage-grouse (Centrocercus spp.) chick survival and recruitment is an important component of species management and conservation. We compared the effectiveness of walking, spotlight, and pointing-dog surveys to detect radio-marked and unmarked chicks within broods of radio-marked hens in Utah. Walking surveys detected 72% of marked chicks, while spotlight and pointing-dog surveys detected 100% and 96%, respectively. We found no difference between spotlight and pointing-dog counts in number of marked and unmarked chicks detected (P = 0.57). Spotlight counts were slightly more time efficient than pointing-dog surveys. However, spotlight surveys were nocturnal searches and perceived to be more technically arduous than diurnal pointing-dog surveys. Pointing-dog surveys may offer greater utility in terms of area searched per unit effort and an increased ability to detect unmarked hens and broods.
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Vol. 70 • No. 2