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Sharp-tailed hunt canceled

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin wildlife officials said Tuesday that they’ve canceled the sharp-tailed grouse season for the second year in a row to protect the population.

Department of Natural Resources officials said modeling conducted in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows low survival probabilities for sharp-tailed grouse over the next 50 years. The agency canceled the 2019 hunt as well.

Sharp-tailed grouse populations have been dwindling across the country since the 1900s. The bird was once found throughout Wisconsin but it has retreated to the northern reaches of the state as southern forests and grasslands were cleared for farming.

Similar trends have been at play for sharp-tailed grouse in Michigan and eastern Minnesota.

Wisconsin DNR officials say they’re working to enhance the sharp-tailed grouse’s habitat in northwestern Wisconsin. The bird will remain classified as a game species and an advisory committee plans to reconvene ahead of the 2021 season to evaluate whether to re-start the hunt.

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