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Sharp-tailed grouse hunting

Limited permits available for 2016 sharp-tailed grouse season

Spring survey results show that Wisconsin's sharp-tailed grouse made it through the winter in favorable condition, and the department Sharp-tailed Grouse Advisory Committee has decided to make a limited number of harvest permits available in one management unit. Though the population has not yet recovered to historic levels, wildlife managers believe a limited harvest to be sustainable, and are quite hopeful that the population will continue to respond positively to ongoing focused habitat management efforts. 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 our 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.

Much like the wild turkey season, hunters interested in hunting sharp-tailed grouse must submit an application to enter a drawing for a hunting permit. Permit level decisions are made on an annual basis and incorporate sharp-tailed grouse survey data, past permit levels and success rates. Hunters are encouraged to carefully review the zone map [PDF] and apply only for the open unit.

Applications are available online at or at any of the more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.

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: Wednesday February 08 2017