For the second year in a row, no permits for sharp-tailed grouse will be available.
Wisconsin hunters hoping for a bit of reprieve from 2020 in sharp-tailed grouse season will have to curb their expectations again as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has announced there will be no season again in 2020.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic did play a part in this decision. In their press release announcing the news, the DNR says that the usual spring mating surveys that determine permit levels could not be completed in full due to the virus.
As a result, the Sharp-tailed Grouse Advisory Committee was left with uncomplete data on spring mating surveys.
While permits for grouse hunting were issued in three out of the last five years, officials did not hand any out in 2019 either due to scientific data showing a decrease in the game bird's numbers. There were also no permits in 2017. The committee ultimately decided to base their decision on the 2019 data since they don't have a clear picture of grouse populations in 2020.
While the news may be disappointing for hunters who were hoping for some semblance of normal in what has been a crazy year, at least the game bird's numbers will have an extra year to rebound. The press release notes that the DNR has ongoing work to restore habitat utilized by the grouse.
"As a result of the increased barren habitat management activities occurring in recent years in northwest Wisconsin, there is great optimism that the population will respond positively to these efforts and Wisconsin will experience an increase in sharp-tailed grouse population data in future years," the DNR press release reads.
This is not the only season to have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic either directly or indirectly. Washington shut down some spring bear and turkey seasons back in April and neighboring Oregon shut down hunting and fishing to non-residents temporarily shortly after. Although it is worth noting that both of those closures were due to concerns about the spread of the virus rather than problems with game animal populations.