Montana is getting rid of most sage grouse hunting opportunities.
According to the Montana Standard, sage grouse hunting in all but six southwest Montana counties, and 14 counties in the north-central area of the state.
Every portion of southeast Montana from Gallatin County to North Dakota would be closed, and the hunting season will be cut in half, from 60 days to 30.
If you’ve never seen a male sage grouse execute its strut, check out this video from YouTuber PatricelliLab.
Watch these other must-see game bird videos
And you thought a turkey strut was impressive!
What’s not impressive is the population numbers of sage grouse in the US, which have been declining for several years. Habitat loss, energy development, West Nile virus and water supply depletion are among the blamed culprits.
“This is somewhat of a tragic day,” Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioner Matthew Tourtlotte said in the article. “We’re going to close a significant portion of the state to sage grouse hunting. Those areas aren’t likely to have sage grouse hunting ever again. But something is going to have to be done besides taking hunting out of the equation. I think you have to go forward with the plan.”
Bag limits for sage grouse in Montana will remain at two per day, and four total.
Are you a sage grouse hunter in Montana? How will this change affect your hunting season?