Sharp-tailed grouse hunting season will remain closed

By: - July 15, 2021 2:03 pm
Sharp-tailed Grouse (Photo | Travis Bonovsky, DNR)

Sharp-tailed Grouse (Photo | Travis Bonovsky, DNR)

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that the fall 2021 sharp-tailed grouse hunting season will remain closed. Spring surveys have shown concerns over the future viability of the sharp-tailed grouse population. Therefore, permits and applications to hunt the bird will not be available this year.

This will mark the third season in which the sharp-tailed grouse hunt has been closed. During 2019, a survey found several trends in the numbers of sharp-tailed grouse. On DNR-managed lands there was a 38% increase in the number of males observed as compared to 2018. However, on non-managed property there was a 12% decline and on private lands, no grouse were encountered at all. No survey was conducted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2019 survey noted that the increase on DNR-managed lands was due to reintroduction efforts by the U.S Forest Service. Some areas like Wood County and Dike Seventeen Wildlife areas were removed from the annual report due to “extremely low numbers and low survey effort over the last decade.” For a third straight year, no grouse were detected in the Kimberly Clark Wildlife area as well.

Although permits won’t be issued this year, the sharp-tailed grouse will remain listed as a game species. “DNR staff are hopeful that the population will respond positively to ongoing focused habitat management efforts to restore the young forests and barrens habitats that sharp-tailed grouse depend on for survival,” the department states.


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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, and other outlets.