ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

North Dakota spring pheasant counts up slightly despite decline in southwest part of the state

The primary regions holding pheasants showed 18.4 crows per stop in the southwest, down from 19.6 in 2020; 14.3 crows per stop in the northwest, up from 12.2; and 14.5 crows per stop in the southeast, up from 13.6. The count in the northeast, which is not a primary region for pheasants, was 5.2 crows per stop, up from 3.4 last year.

NDPHEASANT-NDGF pheasant photo.jpg
Pheasant roosters. (Photo/ North Dakota Game and Fish Department)
We are part of The Trust Project.

North Dakota’s spring pheasant population index is up slightly from last year, the state Game and Fish Department said Monday, June 28, in reporting results from its 2021 spring crowing count survey.

The number of roosters heard crowing this spring was up about 3% statewide, according to R.J. Gross, upland game management biologist, for Game and Fish in Bismarck.

RELATED STORIES:

“The statewide number might be a bit misleading since we are notably down in the southwest, while most of the state benefitted from good reproduction in 2020 and a mild winter,” Gross said.

Gross_RJ 2013.jpg
RJ Gross, upland game biologist, North Dakota Game and Fish Department. (N.D. Game and Fish Department photo)
Contributed / North Dakota Game and Fish Department

ADVERTISEMENT

The primary regions holding pheasants showed 18.4 crows per stop in the southwest, down from 19.6 in 2020; 14.3 crows per stop in the northwest, up from 12.2; and 14.5 crows per stop in the southeast, up from 13.6. The count in the northeast, which is not a primary region for pheasants, was 5.2 crows per stop, up from 3.4 last year.

Current drought conditions are causing delayed growth in nesting cover, brood rearing cover and croplands across the state, Gross said, while extended drought conditions could prevent insect hatches, reducing forage availability to chicks for brood rearing.

“We are hopeful that the latest rain events will foster insect production to bolster pheasant chick foraging,” he said.

Game and Fish Department crews conduct pheasant crowing counts each spring throughout North Dakota. Observers drive specified 20-mile routes, stopping at predetermined intervals, and counting the number of pheasant roosters heard crowing over a 2-minute period.

The number of pheasant crows heard are compared with previous years’ data, providing a trend summary.

Late summer brood count surveys conducted in late July and August will provide a better indication of pheasant hunting season prospects. North Dakota’s 2021 pheasant season is tentatively set to open Saturday, Oct. 9.

ADVERTISEMENT

More info: gf.nd.gov .

Sign up for the Northland Outdoors newseletter

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.
What to read next
Some of the research confirmed details that anglers have long suspected.
To get an event in the Outdoors Calendar, contact Brad Dokken at (701) 780-1148, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1148 or by email at bdokken@gfherald.com. Deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesdays.
Members Only
Conducted every five years since 1990, the survey originally was scheduled for the summer of 2020 but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dakota Prairie Grassland officials said they are surveying the area to identify a temporary reroute, and additional information will be released once a reroute is identified and completed.