Applications for special sage grouse hunts on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge are now available at regional Division of Wildlife offices in Reno, Fallon, Elko, Las Vegas and Henderson. Applications and regulations are also posted to the agency's Web site at www.state.nv.us/cnr/nvwildlife/game/regs.htm.
This year the hunt will have two seasons, and a total of 150 permits, 75 for each season, are available. The hunts will be Sept. 16-17 and Sept. 23-24 and are managed cooperatively by the Nevada Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the refuge where the hunts are held.
Since its inception in 1996, this hunt has proved to be very popular with hunters, and also assists biologists by providing critical information on the species. To aid the biologists in the collection of data, successful hunters are asked to donate one wing from each sage grouse harvested during the hunt.
"Our main objective is to determine hunter success, and to use the wings to determine the demographics of the sage grouse population," said Stiver. "The hunt allows us to collect data on the birds that help greatly with our tracking of the sage grouse populations in Nevada," he said. "The data from wing samples provides information about when the birds were born, the proportion of males to females, and the brood success this year. "That information is important for wildlife managers in tracking the population of birds in the state."
Applications turned into NDOW's Reno office for this year's Sheldon Sage Grouse Hunt must be received by 5 p.m. Aug. 18 and must be sent to: Game Bureau Sage Grouse Hunt, 1100 Valley Road, Reno 89512.
Hunters may only submit one application for this hunt and they have the option of applying singly or as a group or "party." This hunt is unique in that there is no application fee or cost for the permit; however, all applicants over the age of 12 must have a valid hunting license for the 2000-2001 year to apply. The daily bag limit is three, and the possession limit is six for sage grouse. Shooting hours are sunrise to sunset daily.