Predators are commonly believed to negatively impact sage-grouse populations and of most importance is timing of death. Nest loss to predators is most important when potential production of young and recruitment are seriously impacted . Lack of adequate nesting and brooding cover may account for high juvenile losses in many regions .
Studies by Gregg and others , Delong and others  in Oregon, and Sveum and others  in Washington suggest that nest success is related to herbaceous cover near the nest site. Taller, more dense herbaceous cover apparently reduces nest predation and likely increases early brood survival . Although predators were the proximate factor influencing nest loss, the ultimate cause may relate to the vegetation available to nesting sage-grouse . Tall dense vegetation may provide visual, scent, and physical barriers between predators and nests of ground-nesting birds. Greater amounts of both tall grass and medium-height shrub cover were associated collectively with a lower probability of nest predation . In a series of Nevada studies, artificial nest predation experiments were conducted. Artificial nests experienced 100% mortality with the loss of 1,400 eggs in 200 simulated sage-grouse nests in 2 weeks in 1 study, 84% of the nests were destroyed in 3 days in another study, while just 3% of the nests were destroyed in 10 days in an area of significantly better cover (t test, P < 0.05) .
Generally, quantity and quality of habitats used by sage-grouse control the degree of predation. Thus, predation would be expected to be most important as habitat size and herbaceous cover within sagebrush decreases .
A decline in preferred prey may also result in increased predation on sage-grouse. Kindschy  suggested that in southeastern Oregon, a decline in black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) numbers may have caused predators to switch to sage-grouse as their primary prey.
Predator species: Coyote (Canis latrans) [69,116], bobcat (Lynx rufus) , badger (Taxidea taxus) , falcons (Falconidae) , and hawks, kites, and eagles (Accipitridae) [9,40,96] prey on adult and juvenile sage-grouse. Crows and ravens (Corvus spp.) and magpies (Pica spp.) consume juvenile birds [69,116]. Coyote, ground squirrels (Spermophilus spp.), and badger are the most important mammalian nest predators. Among bird species, magpies and ravens commonly prey on sage-grouse nests [63,66,124].
Sage-grouse are a popular game bird. Mortality due to hunting is generally considered to be compensatory [19,34] and replacive , where until mortality reaches a "threshold value" it has no effect on population levels. Autenrieth and others  state data are not available to suggest that closed or restricted hunting seasons will materially affect overall sage-grouse population levels on their primary range.
In a study on hunting in a low density greater sage-grouse population in Nevada, Stigar  concluded low sage-grouse populations may be a result of factors other than hunting. Protecting 1 sage-grouse population from hunting while doubling the birds harvested in a 4-year period on another population showed that despite low recruitment, both populations increased to nearly the same density.
In an Oregon study, no relationship existed between the rate of summer recruitment (chicks/adult) and harvest by hunters. Nor was any significant relationship found between the size of the fall harvest and population trends during the subsequent spring. Decline in greater sage-grouse populations was apparently unrelated to harvest because no relationship was found between the magnitude of the harvest and the size of subsequent spring populations .
Braun and Beck  demonstrated no relationship between harvest rates and subsequent breeding population size in Colorado. Gill , also in a Colorado study, concluded that hunter harvest had little effect on spring populations of male Gunnison sage-grouse.
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- 124. Wallestad, Richard. 1975. Life history and habitat requirements of sage grouse in central Montana. Helena, MT: Montana Department of Fish and Game. 65 p. In cooperation with: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 
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- 37. DeLong, Anita K.; Crawford, John A.; DeLong, Don C., Jr. 1995. Relationships between vegetational structure and predation of artificial sage grouse nests. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 59(1): 88-92. 
- 40. Dunkle, Sidney W. 1977. Swainson's hawks on the Laramie Plains, Wyoming. Auk. 94: 65-71. 
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- 7. Bailey, Theodore N. 1981. Den ecology, population parameters and diet of eastern Idaho bobcats. In: Blum, L. G.; Escherich, P. C., eds. Bobcat research conference: Proceedings; 1979 October 16-18; Front Royal, VA. NWF Science and Technical Series No. 6. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation: 62-69. 
- 70. Klebenow, Don; Zunino, Gary; Stigar, Mark; Altstatt, Alice. 1990. Sage grouse production and mortality studies. Job Final Report. Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration: Project W-48-R-21, Study XVII, Job 1. Reno, NV: Nevada Department of Wildlife. 26 p. 
- 77. Klott, James H.; Smith, Randy B.; Vullo, Charlene. 1993. Sage grouse habitat use in the Brown's Bench Area of south-central Idaho. Tech. Bulletin No. 93-4. Boise, ID: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Idaho State Office. 14 p. 
- 9. Beck, D. I. 1975. Attributes of a wintering population of sage grouse, North Park, Colorado. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 49 p. Thesis. 
- 94. Pennycuick, C. J.; Fuller, Mark R.; Oar, Jack J.; Kirkpatrick, Sean J. 1994. Falcon versus grouse: flight adaptations of a predator and its prey. Journal of Avian Biology. 25(1): 39-49. 
- 96. Phillips, Robert L.; Beske, Alan E. 1990. Distribution and abundance of golden eagles and other raptors in Campbell and Converse Counties, Wyoming. Fish and Wildlife Technical Report 27. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 31 p. 
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