DNR seeks input on proposed changes to sharp-tailed grouse hunting

Sharp-tailed grouse hunting in the east-central part of the state would begin about a month later under a proposal from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“We would limit early-season fall hunting in an area already open to sharp-tailed grouse hunting where habitat changes have significantly reduced their numbers,” said Dave Olfelt, DNR northeast region manager. “The change aims to boost survival of young-of-the-year birds and adult hens with broods, which could provide a benefit to the overall population.”

Fall sharp-tailed grouse hunting is allowed in the northern third of the state. If approved for 2017, the sharp-tailed grouse season in a part of east-central Minnesota and east of a line from Floodwood to the northern border would be open Saturday, Oct. 14, through Thursday, Nov. 30. In the rest of the open hunting zone, the season would run from Saturday, Sept. 16, through Nov. 30. SharptailGrouseMap

People who want to provide input on the proposal can attend meetings in early May and give input through Thursday, June 1, online or via mail.

Public meetings with staff who can provide additional information are planned for:

  • 6-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 3, DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
  • 7-9 p.m., Tuesday, May 9, Cloquet High School, 1000 18th St., Cloquet.

To get a written copy of the input survey, contact the DNR Information Center by telephone at 888-646-6367 or email jason.abraham@state.mn.us. Written comments may be emailed, or mailed to Sharp-Tailed Grouse Comments, DNR Section of Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4007.

Sharp-tailed grouse are somewhat larger than ruffed grouse and live in open grassy or brushy areas. The once-thriving population has declined sharply in the last 50 years due to loss of suitable habitat.

During spring mating, the males try to attract females by making coos and clucks, stomping their feet and clicking their tail feathers in a courtship dance at specific locations called leks.

The DNR maintains blinds that are available to the public in areas where the public can watch sharp-tailed grouse courtship. More information on sharp-tailed grouse viewing blinds is available on the sharp-tailed grouse webpage.