NV Wildlife panel asked to end sage grouse hunting

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RENO, Nev. (AP) -- The Nevada Wildlife Commission is being asked to ban hunting for sage grouse statewide as a way to help keep the bird off the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

Commissioner Henry Vogler tells the Reno-Gazette Journal he intends to press for the closure of the hunting season during the panel's meeting Friday and Saturday in Fallon.

The Ely rancher says if the federal government grants the bird protection under the Endangered Species Act it could result in dramatic restrictions on livestock grazing, oil and gas development and construction of transmission lines.

State biologist Shawn Espinosa says hunting has a relatively small impact on the bird. A much bigger threat is the loss of sage brush habitat to wildfires and development.

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com