Sage Grouse Hunting Season Recommendations
"It is important to note that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that regulated hunting is not a significant threat to the conservation of sage-grouse." - WGFD sage-grouse coordinator Tom Christiansen
by Wyoming Game & Fish
February 22, 2008
In an effort to address concerns about the potential impacts of hunting on Wyoming sage-grouse populations, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has issued several recommendations for the 2008 sage-grouse hunting season.
Game and Fish wildlife personnel evaluated local data and provided four recommendations for 2008: closing hunting in several local populations in northeastern Wyoming that do not meet the population thresholds identified in Wyoming conservation plans and management guidelines; reduce the season length in those areas in northeastern Wyoming open for hunting; establish a hunting season of Sept. 20-30 with a daily limit of 2 and possession limit of 4 in all other areas (previous season was Sept. 22 through Oct. 2); and close falconry season on Jan. 31, rather than March 1.
The recommendations are part of a technical review and white paper evaluating sage-grouse hunting in the state. The paper, titled "Hunting and Sage-Grouse: A Technical Review of Harvest Management On a Species of Concern in Wyoming," was developed by WGFD sage-grouse coordinator Tom Christiansen.
"These recommendations take into account biology, formal public involvement via state and local planning efforts and public perception," explains Christiansen. "We continue to follow state and local sage-grouse conservation plan recommendations to provide sage-grouse hunting opportunities in Wyoming that are consistent with science-based guidelines. At the same time, we acknowledge concerns about a species being reviewed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a possible threatened or endangered species listing.”
Ten of the eleven states in which sage-grouse reside currently have hunting seasons.
"Wyoming hosts the largest and most widespread populations of sage-grouse in any of those 11 states," says Christiansen. "And while sage grouse hunting has generally become more conservative in recent decades in response to generally declining sage-grouse populations over the last half-century, it is important to note that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that regulated hunting is not a significant threat to the conservation of sage-grouse.”
The recommendations will be discussed at public meetings hosted by Game and Fish later this spring. Final season decisions will be made the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission at their April meeting.
The white paper is available by following the sage grouse links on the Wyoming Game and Fish Web site at http://gf.state.wy.us.
For more information, contact: Tom Christiansen, 875-3225 ext. 227.