See Utah's Gunnison sage-grouse

Free trips limited to 15 people each

Monticello — If watching the colorful strutting display of Gunnison sage-grouse sounds interesting, state wildlife biologists have an offer that might be hard for you to refuse.

During the weekends of March 30–31 and April 13–14, they'll take small groups of people to see Gunnison sage-grouse strut on leks (breeding grounds) east of Monticello.

Utah is home to two sage-grouse subspecies—the greater sage-grouse and the Gunnison sage-grouse.

Gunnison sage-grouse are the rarest of the two.

To avoid disturbing the grouse, each weekend trip is limited to no more than 15 people. There's no cost to see the grouse, but you will have to pay for lodging, food and gasoline to and from Monticello.

Monticello is about a five-hour drive southeast of Salt Lake City.

If you'd like to attend one of the trips, call Brent Stettler at 435-613-3707.

Each trip is limited to the first 15 people who call.

Details

On the Friday evening of each weekend—March 30 and April 13—an orientation will be held in the commission chambers at the San Juan County Building, 117 S. Main in Monticello.

The orientations and discussion begin at 7 p.m. and will be provided by a wildlife biologist from the Division of Wildlife Resources. You'll learn about the ecology, life history, geographic distribution and legal status of Gunnison sage-grouse. You'll also receive information about where and when to meet the following morning.

The best viewing always occurs before dawn or right at dawn. Within an hour after sunrise, grouse are usually done strutting.

Please prepare for winter-like conditions. You'll want to bring a camera and a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope. (The DWR biologist will also have extra binoculars and spotting scopes you can use.)

To lessen the chance of disturbing the birds, you'll be encouraged to carpool to the strutting ground with other participants. The trip from Monticello to the strutting ground will take about an hour.

For more information, call Brent Stettler at 435-613-3707.

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