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Endangered Species: Lesser Prairie Chicken Decision Delayed

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March 04, 2013

Endangered Species: Lesser Prairie Chicken Decision Delayed

By Chad Love

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has delayed a decision on the endangered species status of the lesser prairie chicken, and reopened the public comment period on the proposed listing for the threatened prairie grouse, which at one time was one of the most populous gamebirds on the southern plains, but now hangs on in just a few areas.

From this story on lubbockonline.com:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopened to public comment the potential listing of the lesser prairie chicken on the federal protected list. U.S. Rep. Michael Conaway of Midland announced the move after he and seven other House Republicans requested a delay of at least 90 days in the decision on designating the grouse as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. They say protecting the fowl would impair oil and gas development, agriculture and other sectors that drive local economies. Experts say the lesser prairie chicken population has declined in part due to expanded farms, ranches and oil and gas operations across the Southwest and other states.

Kansas is the lone remaining state that offers a general hunting season on lessers, which is remarkable considering just how many prairie chickens there used to be in the birds' historic range of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and Colorado. Anyone ever get the chance to hunt lessers in your state before the season was closed?

Comments (10)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

So what's the difference between this lesser grouse, and my Sage Grouse that I hunt? Last year I saw large flocks of Sage Grouse. A protion of the sky would be black with them as they flew across my gravel road, and higher than I thought they fly. Thought it was ducks at first. Shot my one bird limit after a large flock of them got up.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Sage grouse is almost black and about three times the size of a Lesser Prairie Chicken. The Greater Prairie Chicken which was almost as numerous as the Lesser has already bought the farm. They have been extinct for about a hundred years as I recall. Very sad. The sage grouse will be next. I haven't seen one in Montana for many years.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Maybe all those huge flocks, and I mean huge flocks of Sage Grouse flew Montana way. I mean there had to be 100 birds in one flock. I stepped off my gravel road out in nowhere and into the sage, and a big covey?/flock of them got up, and I got one. And what unique great feathers for a pattern that I am tying.

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from uplander12 wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Greater Prairie Chickens are not extinct. Many plains states have seasons for them. They are more populous than Lesser Prairie Chickens.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

I hope something can be done before these birds drop off the planet. The Sage grouse are starting to get few and far between, yet they are completely off the radar. I guess the Lesser, and the Greater prairie chicken are worse off though?

Maybe a breeding program should be in order?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

bruise...read my post. Those that want to stop fossil fuel generation, and raise the cost of energy that impacts everyone want you to think there are few sage grouse. When I see a cloud of 100 or more in a flock, they ain't going extinct.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

OH, you're probably thinking of the heath hen, which is (or rather was) a grouse species much like the prairie chicken. It is extinct. The Attwater's prairie chicken is another subspecies (found in Texas) that is almost gone, too. Greaters are still found (and hunted) in a number of states. While they're not exactly thriving, they're not in as bad a shape as the lessers are.

Clinchknot, the prairie chicken is a totally different species, different range and habitats than the sage grouse.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Chad...thanks for the response. I figured as such. But the EPA dudes, along with the environmentalists are using the Sage Grouse as a means of preventing fossil fuel generation, and that adversely effects all of us in higher energy prices. I wish everyone had been with me to see all the Sage Grouse that I saw. I don't think I've seen more black birds in the Spring time than I saw Sage Grouse.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

I commonly see "clouds" of hundreds of sharptail grouse in sage grouse range but I haven't seen a genuine sage grouse in Montana for thirty years. They are there but very hard to find in areas where we would commonly see them in the 1960s and 70s. Many folks, even some locals, incorrectly call sharpies sage grouse or even prairie chickens.

Yes, it was the heath hen that has gone extinct, not the Greater Prairie Chicken.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

No mistaken them on my part Ontario. The state goes to great links to see that hunters don't mistake the two, and you get a big fine if you do, and get caught. Sharpies are smaller, wings beat faster, they make a chuckle when they fly. Sage Grouse are much bigger, slower wing beat, and silent when they fly. Their wings make no noise. And boy do we have a lot of them. I also shot three sharptail last season.

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Post a Comment

from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

So what's the difference between this lesser grouse, and my Sage Grouse that I hunt? Last year I saw large flocks of Sage Grouse. A protion of the sky would be black with them as they flew across my gravel road, and higher than I thought they fly. Thought it was ducks at first. Shot my one bird limit after a large flock of them got up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Sage grouse is almost black and about three times the size of a Lesser Prairie Chicken. The Greater Prairie Chicken which was almost as numerous as the Lesser has already bought the farm. They have been extinct for about a hundred years as I recall. Very sad. The sage grouse will be next. I haven't seen one in Montana for many years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Maybe all those huge flocks, and I mean huge flocks of Sage Grouse flew Montana way. I mean there had to be 100 birds in one flock. I stepped off my gravel road out in nowhere and into the sage, and a big covey?/flock of them got up, and I got one. And what unique great feathers for a pattern that I am tying.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from uplander12 wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Greater Prairie Chickens are not extinct. Many plains states have seasons for them. They are more populous than Lesser Prairie Chickens.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

I hope something can be done before these birds drop off the planet. The Sage grouse are starting to get few and far between, yet they are completely off the radar. I guess the Lesser, and the Greater prairie chicken are worse off though?

Maybe a breeding program should be in order?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

OH, you're probably thinking of the heath hen, which is (or rather was) a grouse species much like the prairie chicken. It is extinct. The Attwater's prairie chicken is another subspecies (found in Texas) that is almost gone, too. Greaters are still found (and hunted) in a number of states. While they're not exactly thriving, they're not in as bad a shape as the lessers are.

Clinchknot, the prairie chicken is a totally different species, different range and habitats than the sage grouse.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

I commonly see "clouds" of hundreds of sharptail grouse in sage grouse range but I haven't seen a genuine sage grouse in Montana for thirty years. They are there but very hard to find in areas where we would commonly see them in the 1960s and 70s. Many folks, even some locals, incorrectly call sharpies sage grouse or even prairie chickens.

Yes, it was the heath hen that has gone extinct, not the Greater Prairie Chicken.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

No mistaken them on my part Ontario. The state goes to great links to see that hunters don't mistake the two, and you get a big fine if you do, and get caught. Sharpies are smaller, wings beat faster, they make a chuckle when they fly. Sage Grouse are much bigger, slower wing beat, and silent when they fly. Their wings make no noise. And boy do we have a lot of them. I also shot three sharptail last season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

bruise...read my post. Those that want to stop fossil fuel generation, and raise the cost of energy that impacts everyone want you to think there are few sage grouse. When I see a cloud of 100 or more in a flock, they ain't going extinct.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Chad...thanks for the response. I figured as such. But the EPA dudes, along with the environmentalists are using the Sage Grouse as a means of preventing fossil fuel generation, and that adversely effects all of us in higher energy prices. I wish everyone had been with me to see all the Sage Grouse that I saw. I don't think I've seen more black birds in the Spring time than I saw Sage Grouse.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report

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