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North Dakota pheasant and sharptail harvests decline, while Hungarian partridge success holds steady, Game and Fish says

Nearly 50,000 pheasant hunters shot 256,800 roosters last fall in North Dakota, down 25% from 2018, when 59,400 hunters bagged 342,600 roosters.

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North Dakota's estimated 2019 pheasant harvest of 256,800 roosters was down 25% from 2018, the Game and Fish Department reported Monday, June 8. Fewer upland game hunters went afield last fall, despite minor increases in population estimates for both pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse. (Photo/ North Dakota Game and Fish Department)

Hunters in North Dakota shot fewer pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse last fall, the Game and Fish Department said Monday, a trend they attributed to lower upland game populations the previous two years and a resulting decline in hunter numbers.

The number of Hungarian partridges taken last year was similar to the previous year, the department said.

The overall harvest was down despite slight increases in most population survey estimates, said Jesse Kolar, upland game management supervisor for Game and Fish.

β€œThis was likely due to continued declines in hunter numbers and hunter days afield following lower population trends,” Kolar said. β€œWe also still have lower densities of upland game birds in areas that traditionally had much of the harvest – pheasant numbers were still low in the southwest, and sharptail numbers remained low in the badlands.”

Nearly 50,000 pheasant hunters shot 256,800 roosters last fall, down 25% from 2018, when 59,400 hunters bagged 342,600 roosters. Hettinger, Divide, Bowman, Williams and McLean counties had the highest percentage of pheasants taken.

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An estimated 14,000 hunters shot 34,300 sharp-tailed grouse last year, Game and Fish statistics show, down 34% from 15,200 hunters and 51,800 birds in 2018. Counties with the highest percentage of sharptails taken were Mountrail, Burleigh, Ward, Stutsman and McKenzie.

Hungarian partridge success actually increased, despite a decline in hunter numbers. According to Game and Fish, 11,900 hunters shot 32,600 Hungarian partridges, up 5% from the harvest in 2018, when nearly 12,500 hunters bagged 31,200 Huns. Counties with the highest percentage of Huns taken were Mountrail, Ward, McLean, Williams and Divide.

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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