DNR board votes to close grouse season early
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources board has decided to close one of Wisconsin’s two ruffed grouse seasons early to protect the population.
Agency officials wrote in a memo to the board that grouse drumming decreased 34 percent from 2017 to 2018. A hunter survey revealed hunters killed only 185,336 birds last year, the lowest harvest in the 34 years the DNR has conducted the survey.
Grouse season runs from Sept. 15 through Jan. 31 in Wisconsin’s northwestern two-thirds and from Oct. 20 through Dec. 8 in the southeastern third. DNR officials proposed emergency regulations closing both seasons on Nov. 30.
Critics say there’s no evidence ending hunting early will affect the population. The board voted in Hayward Wednesday to amend the closing date for northwestern Wisconsin to Dec. 31.