The Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (NBWA) is a 6,438 acre DNR property located in northwestern Wisconsin that is managed for open barrens landscape as well as the plant and animal communities that thrive there, including sharp-tailed grouse. The NBWA hosts the largest population of sharp-tailed grouse in Wisconsin. WSGS and the Wisconsin DNR have spent the last 60 years saving the sharp-tailed grouse from extirpation, focusing majority of their effort in the NBWA. While the number varies greatly from year to year, NBWA is probably home to about 220 birds at present.
In spring, on the dancing grounds, males court the females by spreading their wings, rapidly stomping their feet, and rattling their upturned tails as they coo and gobble with the aid of beautiful purple air sacks inflated on their necks. Viewing sharp-tails dancing is an experience you will never forget.
Dancing activity peaks from about April 15 to May 15, depending on the year. Wildlife management staff put up blinds on the NBWA to aid in viewing and surveying the spring population of sharp-tailed grouse.