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The Drop in Grouse Didn't Happen Overnight

I hoped I was simply late for the party.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

But where I used to watch dozens of male sage grouse dance each spring on my birthday there were now only six, scattered across the lek.

Twenty years ago sage grouse were common in the country I hunt in north-central Montana. I didn’t shoot many, but they were another species of prairie game bird I hunted along with sharptail grouse, Hungarian partridge and pheasants.

These days I’m just happy to see one.

Vanishing sagebrush habitat – a casualty of development and farming -- is most often blamed for the birds’ sharp declin...

 

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