MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Department of Natural Resources board is moving toward shortening Wisconsin's ruffed grouse season to as the population dwindles.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday to allow the department to craft an emergency rule that would close the season across the northwestern two-thirds of the state on Jan. 5. The season currently runs from mid-September through Jan. 31 in that portion of the state.
The DNR is concerned that the ruffed grouse population is declining. Drumming activity dropped 34% from 2017 to 2018. Hunters took only 173,347 birds last year, the lowest total in 35 years of hunter surveys.
The reason for the decline is unknown.
DNR spokeswoman Sarah Hoye says the department expects to present the emergency rule to the board at its Sept. 24-25 meetings in Mishicot.