MADISON — In 2016, 25 sharp-tailed grouse harvest permits have been made available for Game Management Unit 8 in northwestern Wisconsin.
Those interested in hunting sharp-tailed grouse in Unit 8 must submit an application before 5 p.m. Aug. 1 to enter the permit drawing – applications cost $3. Hunters are encouraged to carefully review the zone map and submit an application for Unit 8 only. Permit availability decisions are made on an annual basis and incorporate sharp-tailed grouse survey data, past permit levels, and success rates.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Sharp-tailed Grouse Advisory Committee, made up of department staff and key stakeholders, is hopeful that the sharp-tailed grouse population will continue to respond positively to habitat management efforts in Wisconsin. Conservative harvest permit availability is aimed at providing an opportunity to pursue the species sustainably.
“We have a very dedicated group of sharp-tailed grouse hunters in Wisconsin,” said Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. “This limited season should provide those grouse enthusiasts with a chance to pursue the species while not impacting the long-term sustainability of the population.”
In northwestern Wisconsin, sharp-tailed grouse are found primarily in association with large blocks of barrens habitat on public lands. Wisconsin’s Sharp-tailed Grouse Management Plan provides framework to combine habitat development for barrens-dependent wildlife species with working forests, with a goal to expand the suitable habitat for sharp-tails and reconnect isolated populations wherever possible.
Barrens habitat in northwestern Wisconsin is recognized internationally as a key conservation opportunity area. Sharp-tails are a popular game bird species, and also well known for dramatic breeding displays. The birds attract many visitors to the northwestern part of the state each year.
“Biologists will continue to assess the status of our sharp-tailed grouse population on an annual basis,” said Witecha. “We would like to thank those who remain passionate about Wisconsin’s strong and historic tradition of sharp-tailed grouse hunting, and wish all hunters who successfully draw a permit the best of luck in the field.”