We used multiple-linear-regression methods to simultaneously assess effects of vegetative disturbance and weather on the production of sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) on Valentine National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Nebraska using a long-term data set of harvest-age ratios as production indices. After developing the model, we plotted the model-averaged predictions of sharp-tailed grouse production indices for Valentine NWR against actual sharp-tailed grouse production indices for our reference area, Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest (NF) in Nebraska. Model-averaged estimates of production provided reasonable predictions of actual production indices on Valentine NWR, although prediction intervals were large. The most useful predictor variables according to cumulative Akaike's Information Criterion weights were weather variables, emphasizing the significant influence of weather on sharp-tailed grouse production. As hypothesized a priori,“May Average Temperature,”“June Average Temperature,” and “Cumulative Precipitation from 1 January–31 July” were positively correlated with sharp-tailed grouse production, while “June Number of Heat Stress Days” and “June Number of Days of Precipitation >2.54 mm” were negatively correlated with sharp-tailed grouse production. The drought index, Cumulative Precipitation from 1 January–31 July, explained the most variability in sharp-tailed grouse production indices. The model developed on Valentine NWR overpredicted sharp-tailed grouse production indices on Samuel R. McKelvie NF by 0.77 juveniles per adult, when averaged across years. Further experimentation is needed to support our hypothesis that vegetative disturbance on Samuel R. McKelvie NF is negatively affecting sharp-tailed grouse production at its current levels.
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