OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: N.D., Minnesota pheasant surveys etc.
N.D. pheasant numbers up from last year BISMARCK -- North Dakota's pheasant opener is still nearly three weeks off, but results from a roadside survey conducted in late July and August show the population is in much better shape than last year, e...
N.D. pheasant numbers
up from last year
BISMARCK -- North Dakota's pheasant opener is still nearly three weeks off, but results from a roadside survey conducted in late July and August show the population is in much better shape than last year, especially in the southern half of the state.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, said total pheasants were up 34 percent statewide from last year, brood observations were up 26 percent, and average brood size was up 14 percent. Still, Kohn said, pheasant numbers are down roughly 40 percent from the peak years of 2003-08.
Here's a look at the survey by region:
- Southwest: Brood numbers and birds observed were up 30 percent from 2009. Observers counted 19 broods and 165 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was six.
- Southeast: Broods and total birds were up 30 percent, at 10 broods and 76 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 5.2.
- Northwest: Brood numbers were up 9 percent from last year and total pheasant numbers were similar. The survey tallied seven broods and 48 birds per 100 miles with an average brood size of 5.1.
- Northeast: Not known for pheasants, the district had a 30 percent decline in both birds observed and broods recorded. The survey produced 1.3 broods and 12 birds per 100 miles with an average brood size of 5.36.
North Dakota's regular pheasant season is Oct. 9-Jan. 2; the two day youth season for hunters age 15 and younger is Oct. 2-3.
-- N.D. Game and Fish Department
index similar to 2009
MADELIA, Minn. -- Minnesota's pheasant index remains unchanged from 2009 but is 22 percent below the 10-year average, the Department of Natural Resources said.
A severe winter, fewer acres of habitat, and a cool, wet June all contributed to what DNR wildlife biologists are calling a below-average pheasant population.
The best opportunities will be in the southwest, where observers reported 104 birds per 100 miles of survey driven during the annual summer roadside survey. Hunters also will find good opportunities in the central and west central regions, where observers reported 76 and 70 birds per 100 miles, respectively. This year's statewide pheasant index was 63 birds per 100 miles.
-- Herald staff report
Work set to begin
on DL carp barrier
DEVILS LAKE -- Work is scheduled to begin later this month on a project to install permanent protection to keep carp in the Pembina River watershed from crossing a small divide in Cavalier County, N.D., and entering the Devils Lake basin.
According to Lynn Schlueter, special projects biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Devils Lake, the bulk of the project involves raising a small stretch of prairie trail near Loma, N.D., by about 3 feet. Right now, the only thing keeping the carp from crossing the Pembina River side of the divide and entering the Devils Lake basin is a half-mile wall of cattails.
If all goes according to plan, the project should take four or five days and be completed about Oct. 1, Schlueter said.
-- Brad Dokken
N.D. bighorn count
DICKINSON, N.D. -- Two consecutive severe winters took a toll on North Dakota's bighorn sheep population, but overall numbers remain strong, the Game and Fish Department says.
According to Brett Wiedmann, big game biologist for Game and Fish in Dickinson, a July-August survey in western North Dakota showed 289 bighorn sheep, down 20 from last year and 27 below 2008's record summer survey.
"Let's keep in mind we are comparing this year's count to record totals, so all things considered, I am pleased with our current numbers," Wiedmann said.
Bighorn sheep can tolerate frigid temperatures, but deep snow causes problems, he said.
The survey tallied 94 rams, 150 ewes and 45 lambs -- 231 in the northern Badlands (a decrease of 11 from last year) and 58 in the southern Badlands (down nine).
"The northern Badlands herds are carrying the population right now," Wiedmann said. The department's survey does not include an additional 30 bighorns that inhabit the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
North Dakota's bighorn sheep hunting season opens Oct. 22 and continues through Nov. 4; Game and Fish issued six licenses.
-- N.D. Game and Fish Department
DNR plans meeting
on Leech walleye regs
WALKER, Minn. -- The DNR has scheduled a public input meeting for 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 13 at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley school in Walker to discuss proposals to maintain or modify walleye regulations on Leech Lake.
The DNR is considering maintaining regulations established in 2005 that require anglers to release walleyes from 18 inches to 26 inches with a four-fish bag. A second proposal would require the release of 20- to 26-inch walleyes, with one fish longer than 26 inches allowed in the four-fish bag.
Submit written comments to
firstname.lastname@example.org or by postal mail to DNR Area Fisheries, 07316 State 371 N.W., Walker, MN 56484. Telephone comments can be made by calling the Walker area fisheries office at (218) 547-1683. Comment deadline is Oct. 25.
-- Minnesota DNR
Did you know?
- North Dakota now has 30 Pheasants Forever chapters with the addition of the new Hawks Nest chapter in Foster County. The chapter plans to hold its first fundraising banquet this fall. For more information, contact chapter president Chris Augustin, Carrington, N.D., at (701) 265-2473 or Christopher_augustin@yahoo.com .
- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program and Delta Waterfowl are hosting the third annual waterfowl hunting workshop for women Saturday and Sept. 26 in Bismarck. Info: Nancy Boldt, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, (701) 328-6312; or e-mail email@example.com .
- Just in time for peak fall colors, a new visitor center at Grand Portage State Park along the North Shore of Lake Superior will be the subject of a community celebration Saturday. Info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/
- Most of the Heartland State Trail between Walker and Cass Lake, Minn., will be closed through Oct. 15 for repairs, the DNR said. Info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_trails/heartland/index.html .
- The DNR is offering several public lands in northern Minnesota for sale at a public auction set for Oct. 26 at Bemidji City Hall, 317 Fourth St. N.W. Registration begins at 10:45 a.m., with the auction to follow at 11. Parcels in Beltrami, Hubbard, Itasca, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, and Wadena counties will be up for sale. Info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/
- A red-breasted merganser painted by Kevin Nelson of Burnsville, Minn., will be featured on the 2011 Minnesota Migratory Waterfowl Stamp. The $7.50 duck stamp is required of all Minnesota waterfowl hunters age 18 through 64. The DNR offers no prizes for the winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work.
- Meetings to discuss experimental regulations on Lake Winnibigoshish and connected waters are set for 6 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Bug-O-Nay-Gee-Shig School, located on U.S. Highway 2 between Cass Lake and Bena, Minn.; and 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center Training Room, 402 11th St. S.E., Grand Rapids, Minn. Existing regulations require anglers on Winnie to release all walleyes from 17 inches to 26 inches, and staff will explain several options to change the regulations. Comments also may be submitted through Oct. 22 to the DNR Area Fisheries Office, 1201 E. Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
- The DNR has adopted an emergency rule making 55-acre Lester Lake in Hubbard County a catch-and-release only fishery to protect populations of bluegills, northern pike and largemouth bass.