12 March 1985

Ron George, Chairman MSUGB Subcommittee
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Dear Ron:

I have given considerable thought to our earlier discussions about the benefits derived from the former Accelerated Research Program on migratory shore and upland game birds. The benefits of this program, even though it was funded at a low level, were enormous. For example, State wildlife agencies benefited by:

  1. The addition of several states (Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota, etc.) to those that have legal hunting seasons for mourning doves.
  2. Additional recreational opportunity for dove hunters (i.e., Central Management Unit).
  3. Knowledge that hunting pressure and harvest rates had no measurable adverse impacts on mourning dove survival.
  4. Reinstitution of hunting seasons for band-tailed pigeons in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.
  5. Knowledge about the biology of band-tailed pigeons including identification of wintering areas and harvest rates.
  6. Increased recreational opportunity for snipe and rail hunters through redefinition of harvest unit boundaries.
  7. Knowledge about the distribution, productivity, and harvest rates of identifiable subpopulations of white-winged doves.
  8. An improved knowledge of the timing of migration of American coots.
  9. Identification of subpopulations of sandhill cranes.
  10. Improved estimates of the size of sandhill crane populations.
  11. Delineation of the migration routes and breeding areas of subpopulations of sandhill cranes.
  12. Increased recreational opportunity for sandhill crane hunters through proper timing of hunting seasons and reductions in areas closed to sandhill crane hunting.
  13. Improved estimates of the allowable harvest rates for sandhill cranes based on estimates of fall recruitment of juveniles.
  14. Improved understanding of the biology and habitats used by white-tipped doves.
  15. Institution of a legal hunting season for white-tipped doves.
  16. Identification of woodcock migration routes.
  17. Documentation of productivity of woodcock in southeastern states.
  18. Identification of wet habitats preferred by rails.
  19. Identification of wet habitats preferred by common snipe.
  20. Development of census procedures for rails.

This list could be continued as the benefits of the Accelerated Research Program were substantial. I would be remiss if I did not note the substantial additions to the scientific literature in terms of journal papers, state and federal reports, etc. Especially important was the preparation and publication of the book "Management of migratory shore and upland game birds in North America". Finally, because of the Accelerated Research Program, there was substantial interchange of ideas, etc. among individuals working within regions, different agencies, etc.

The rapport that was developed was excellent and greatly facilitated expansion of our knowledge about this important group of birds.


Clait E. Braun
Colorado Division of Wildlife
Wildlife Research Leader