BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ North Dakota will not have a sage grouse hunting season for the sixth straight year because the population of the birds remains low.
State Game and Fish Department biologist Aaron Robinson says officials counted a record-low 50 males on 11 active strutting grounds, or leks, in early May. He says last year, 72 males were counted on 12 active leks in the southwest. The leks are where male birds conduct mating displays to attract females.
Robinson says drought is the most likely reason for the record-low number of males.
Sage grouse hunting was halted in North Dakota in 2008 for the first time in nearly half a century after a steep drop in the bird population that wildlife officials attributed to the West Nile virus.