MADISON, Wis. — In light of spring survey data and concern over the future viability of the sharp-tailed grouse population in Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources will not issue hunting permits for the 2019 hunting season.

Each year, the Sharp-tailed Grouse Advisory Committee, which consists of DNR wildlife biologists and partner agencies and organizations, uses spring dancing-ground surveys to recommend permit levels for the sharp-tailed grouse hunting season.

This decision comes after a review of the spring 2019 survey data, as well as a new population model developed in cooperation with UW-Madison. That model shows low probabilities of sharp-tailed grouse persistence over the next 50 years.

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.

The DNR added that hunters passionate about Wisconsin's strong tradition of sharp-tailed grouse hunting should be encouraged by the partnerships in the northwest part of the state to manage the barrens habitats that sharptails depend on.

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