Sharp-tailed grouse viewing is available each April and May. Registration opens mid to late January. The Friends group and the WDNR makes blinds available for up-close viewing of the startling and entertaining mating dance of the sharp-tailed grouse. Reserve a blind, get up early and watch from just a few feet away as males show off, competing for the chance to mate.

The Friends of the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (FNBWA) requests a minimum donation (donate) of $10 per blind reservation. All money goes to Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area (NBWA) management and includes a free FNBWA membership.

Watch some videos of the dance. See detailed information about sharp-tailed grouse. Learn detailed information on sexing and aging sharp-tailed grouse.

A photo of a typical blind that you can reserve.
The dance.

More about use of the blinds:

  • Please review the information linked below.
    • Directions to the NBWA can be found on the Map and Directions on our Homepage.
    • Information on where to stay is on the Lodging Information page.
    • You must create a new login ID each year (see “sign in” far upper right on reservation page).
    • There are three blinds available. White boxes on the calendar are still available to reserve; colored-in boxed are already reserved. Be sure to select the appropriate blind identified by color in upper right.
    • Initial sign-up is limited to 2 blinds/days unless it is 2 days prior to the viewing day.
    • If you cannot keep a reservation, please cancel as soon as possible.
    • Keep looking back as cancellations and sign-ups occur frequently. People have been able to sign up the day or two before their preferred viewing date, even though it was full days or weeks before.
    • All blinds have bucket seats for up to 3 people. There is room for a 4th person (if people are small and/or willing to be cozy, but will need to bring an extra seat), or room for 1 or 2 people and lots of photography gear.
    • Before making a viewing blind reservation you must read and agree to the Viewing Blind Protocol written by the WDNR. See the protocol.