Hunters should see more sharp-tailed grouse while out hunting this year. However, be careful while hunting, these birds can not be hunted in Montana.
In 1806 Meriwether Lewis described the sharp-tailed grouse on the now famous trek of “Lewis and Clark” as the group headed west to explore much of the western part of the United States.
They spent three years exploring and documenting many animals, birds, etc along the way. Many parts of Montana and many other states from Minnesota to Washington and south to Nebraska and Colorado have sharp-tailed grouse in abundance. The population, in western Montana, however slowly began to decline over the next few hundred years. 2000 was the last time these grouse were documented in Western Montana.
In 2021 the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, (FWP) in partnership with conservation groups and private landowners transplanted 75 of the grouse across the state back into their native country in western Montana. The birds were placed around Florence, Drummond, and Helmville. The long-term goal is to establish three thriving populations in these areas that were selected as having the best chance for success. Some of these birds have radio transmitters to assist in better the track their movements. This will help make better decisions for future releases to bolster the chance of survival for the birds long term.
The FWP is reminding bird hunters that sharp-tailed grouse hunting in western Montana has been closed for a long time and to use caution while bird hunting and to correctly identify bird types while hunting.
What are your thoughts on this conservation plan? Have you been seeing more sharp-tailed grouse in Montana? let us know in the comments!