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Sharp-tailed grouse hunting

Attention Sharp-tailed Grouse Hunters: In light of new scientific data and concerns over the future viability of the sharp-tailed grouse population in Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources will not issue permits for the fall 2019 hunting season. A new scientific model created in cooperation with UW-Madison showed low probabilities of population persistence over the next 50 years. For 2019: no permits will be available, and no applications will be made available or accepted. Accumulated preference points will be retained and will not expire.

Sharp-tailed grouse populations have been declining across North America since the early 1900's. Each year the Sharp-tailed Grouse Advisory Committee uses spring dancing ground surveys to recommend permit levels for the sharp-tailed grouse hunting season. Recommendations are considered by the Department of Natural Resources and a decision is made on how many permits are available. The Sharp-tailed Grouse Advisory Committee and the DNR hope to allow harvest 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.

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 significant, habitat management efforts [PDF] occurring in the northwest part of the state where critical barrens habitat remains. For more information on lek survey results, please visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "wildlife reports"

Contact information
For information on sharp-tailed grouse hunting, contact:
Alaina Gerrits
Assistant upland wildlife ecologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
608-261-8458
Last revised: Tuesday July 09 2019