Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist and Farm Bill biologist, 608-267-7861; Alaina Gerrits, assistant upland wildlife ecologist, 608-261-8458
MADISON - In light of new scientific data and concerns over future viability of the sharp-tailed grouse population in Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources will not issue hunting permits for the fall 2019 hunting season.
Each year, the Sharp-tailed Grouse Advisory Committee, which consists of DNR wildlife biologists and partnering agencies and organizations, uses spring dancing-ground surveys to recommend permit levels for the sharp-tailed grouse hunting season. This decision comes as a result of a review of the spring 2019 survey data as well as from a new scientific population model. This model was developed in cooperation with UW-Madison and shows low probabilities of sharp-tailed grouse persistence over the next 50 years.
It is important to note that since no permits are available, no applications will be made available or accepted this year.
Although no permits will be issued this year, by state law, sharp-tailed grouse will retain their status as a game species. DNR staff are hopeful that the population will respond positively to ongoing, focused habitat management efforts [PDF].
In the meantime, those who are passionate about Wisconsin's strong and historic tradition of sharp-tailed grouse hunting should remain encouraged by significant partnerships that exist in the northwest part of the state to manage barrens habitats that sharp-tailed grouse and other species depend upon for survival.