Considering its small size, about as big as a chicken, the sage grouse has sure ruffled a lot of feathers. Before the end of September the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a court-ordered mandate to rule on whether or not to list the bird as threatened or endangered. To prevent a listing, states like Montana have been working hard to craft their own sage grouse protection measures to show the federal agency that a listing is unwarranted. Likewise, the Bureau of Land Management has created plans to protect the birds in core areas across the state. Montana hunters should take note because a healthy sage grouse population also means good habitat for big game like mule deer and pronghorns. To learn more about the controversy and issues swirling around the bird, see my story in this week’s Billings Gazette at http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/
(Written by Brett French – Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette)
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