The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) last week announced that the fall 2021 sharp-tailed grouse hunting season remains closed due to the spring surveys results and concerns over future viability of the sharp-tailed grouse population. Permits and applications will not be available or accepted this year.
Each year, the 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.
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. This is the third year the season has been closed.
Although permits will not be issued this year, sharp-tailed grouse will retain their status as a game species per state law. Those who are passionate about Wisconsin's strong and historic tradition of sharp-tailed grouse hunting should be encouraged by the significant partnerships that exist in the northwest part of the state.
DNR staff are hopeful that the population will respond positively to ongoing focused habitat management efforts to restore the young forests and barrens habitats that sharp-tailed grouse depend upon for survival.