Current Edition

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Wildlife

Grouse hunting explained

Written by Christy Hemken
Cheyenne – In response to many questions about why the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (G&F) continues to allow sage grouse hunting, the WGFD has posted a document to their website outlining their reasoning.
    “This document goes through the whole issue of biology and the bird and how hunting relates to them and how it relates to the potential for listing,” says WGFD biologist Tom Christiansen.
    “Sage grouse and hunting are compatible under a regulated system, and the biology is ok to do that,” he explains.
    Within the document is included a statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) outlining their position on sage grouse hunting.
    “Two years ago the FWS addressed the issue, and hunting was ranked 17th out of 19 threats to the sage grouse,” says Christiansen. “Their feeling is that hunting is not an issue for sage grouse as it’s currently regulated. If we had no restrictions on hunting, that would be a threat.”
    Christiansen says that on public lands hunting sage grouse is a legitimate multiple use, a concept on which most Wyoming residents pride themselves.
    “If we in Wyoming, where we have the most sage grouse habitat, cannot hunt the sage grouse, what is the message that sends to the rest of the country in terms of potential listing?” he questions.
    The document, including a two-page executive summary, can be found by visiting http://gf.sate.wy.us and following the sage grouse links.