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marine_man

2007 Pheasant Season Recap from ND GNF

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Pheasant Harvest Remains High

North Dakota’s pheasant harvest in 2007 was the highest in more than 60 years, according to statistics released by the state Game and Fish Department.

“To sum it up, we had an outstanding hunting season last fall,” said Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor. “We carried a large breeding population into spring. We predicted a good number of broods and chicks last summer, and they were there. And good fall weather brought out the hunters.”

In 2007, North Dakota had 107,574 pheasant hunters, the first time the state has surpassed the 100,000 mark. Resident and nonresident hunters were both at all-time highs. The number of resident hunters increased to 71,870 (up from 68,216 in 2006) and the number of nonresident hunters increased to 35,704 (up from 31,633).

The total bag was 907,434 roosters, compared to 750,787 in 2006. The record harvest was 2.4 million in both 1944 and 1945. Birds bagged per hunter increased from 7.5 to 8.4, and each hunter spent on average six days afield last year.

Counties with the highest percentage of pheasant harvest by resident hunters include McLean (9.7 percent), Burleigh (9.3 percent), Dickey (5.1 percent), Ransom (4.9 percent) and Sargent (4.6 percent). Top counties for nonresident hunters were Hettinger (18.4 percent), Dickey (7.8 percent), McIntosh (5.7 percent), LaMoure (5.5 percent) and Bowman (5.4 percent).

Following a relatively mild winter with minimal mortality, 2008 spring counts indicated a 36 percent increase statewide in the number of pheasants heard crowing compared to last year.

“Crowing counts were up from 31 percent in the southwest to 53 percent in the northeast,” Kohn said. “These increases in the crowing count index do point to a strong spring breeding population.”

Pheasant crowing counts are conducted each spring by observers driving standardized routes throughout North Dakota. The number of rooster pheasants heard crowing is recorded and compared to previous years’ data. The index does not measure actual numbers or population density, but is an indicator of the population trend of breeding roosters in the state.

While crowing counts identified an increase in spring numbers, Kohn said the fall pheasant population largely depends on reproductive success and survival of young birds in June through mid-August. “The month of June offered almost ideal conditions for egg hatch and chick survival,” he added.

North Dakota’s pheasant population has been strong the last several years thanks to mild winters, good nesting and brooding cover, and improved winter cover. “But the loss of Conservation Reserve Program acreage may have an impact on pheasant populations and land available to hunt on in the future,” Kohn said.

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I would also add that conditions so far are very favorable for a repeat of last year's pheasant populations - lots of chicks running around and it wasn't a wet spring by any means.

Should make for a good fall!

marine_man

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