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No 2021 sharp-tailed grouse hunt in Wisconsin

Habitat decline leads to third year with no hunting season.

sharp-tailed grouse
A male sharp-tailed grouse displays in spring. Continued declines in favorable habitat have led to ongoing low numbers of sharptails in Wisconsin and, for the third straight year, there will be no sharptail hunting season in the Badger State. (Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin DNR)
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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources this week announced that there will be no fall sharp-tailed grouse hunting season again this year after spring surveys showed low numbers of the upland birds.

The DNR’s sharp-tailed grouse advisory committee, which consists of interested conservation groups and DNR wildlife biologists, uses spring dancing ground surveys to evaluate the size of the population each year.

This is the third year the season has been closed as sharp-tailed habitat, namely open ground in otherwise forested regions of the state, diminishes.

The recommendation to keep the sharp-tailed grouse hunting season closed follows the review of spring 2021 survey data, historical data trends and scientific models that indicate a potential marked decrease in population viability if hunting were to take place this fall.

DNR staff are hopeful that the population will respond positively to ongoing focused habitat management efforts to restore the young forests and barren habitats that sharp-tailed grouse depend upon for survival.

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For more information on sharp-tailed grouse in Wisconsin, go to dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/hunt/sharptailgrouse.html .

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John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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