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Sharp-tailed grouse hunting

Permit levels for the 2017 sharp-tailed grouse season will be set during the Sharp-tailed Grouse Advisory Committee meeting held in late spring.

Sharp-tailed grouse populations have been declining across North America since the early 1900's. For the past 60 years, the Wisconsin has been implementing focused habitat management plans to benifit sharp-tailed grouse in the northwestern part of the state. Although the population has not yet recovered to historic levels, wildlife managers believe a limited harvest to be sustainable. Recent disturbance events, such as the 2013 Germann Road Fire and the 2011 blow-down, may also prove beneficial to sharptails over time. Biologists will continue to assess the status of the sharp-tailed grouse population on an annual basis and look forward to increasing permit availability in future years when indices to population health suggest it appropriate to do so. We offer our continued thanks to those who remain passionate about Wisconsin's strong and historic tradition of sharp-tailed grouse hunting.

Those interested in hunting sharp-tailed grouse must submit an application to enter a lottery for a hunting permit. Applications will be made available through or at any license sales locations after the Sharp-tailed Grouse Committee determines permit levels. The application deadline is August 1, 2017. Hunters are encouraged to carefully review the zone map [PDF] and only apply for the open unit.

Hunters wishing to pursue sharp-tailed grouse should be prepared to do a fair bit of scouting to be successful. Sharp-tailed grouse naturally exist at low densities on the landscape and can often be challenging to locate. Because of this, hunters are encouraged to anticipate this challenge and allow themselves to enjoy the outdoors and the experience of the hunt, rather than going just for the opportunity to harvest a bird.

Contact information
For information on sharp-tailed grouse hunting, contact:
Jaqi Christopher
Assistant upland ecologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Last revised: Tuesday April 18 2017