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Illinois hunting and fishing

North Dakota pheasant numbers up 59 percent this year

September 20, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A summer survey shows a much larger pheasant population in North Dakota this year, but wildlife officials are urging hunters in some areas to temper expectations because last year’s numbers were low.

The state Game and Fish Department estimates that there are 59 percent more pheasants this year than last in the state. Brood observations were up 65 percent and the average brood size was up 16 percent.

Upland Game Management Supervisor Stan Kohn cited several factors for this year’s population increase, including a mild winter and a nice spring. Three straight harsh winters beginning in 2008 cut into pheasant numbers. Last year’s survey found a population drop of one-third from the previous year.

This year’s numbers — gathered by officials who made 255 runs along 106 routes in the state — mean more young birds added to the population, and a better fall population for hunters in all areas of the state, Kohn said. Pheasant hunting is big business in North Dakota, with tens of thousands of hunters killing at least half a million birds during a typical season.

This year’s regular pheasant season opens Oct. 13 and runs through Jan. 6. The two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend, when legally licensed residents and nonresidents age 15 and younger can hunt statewide, is set for Oct. 6-7.

Kohn said the survey data indicate the best hunting will be in the southwest.

In the northwest and southeast, “hunters should temper expectations because numbers were low ... last year,” Kohn said. “There will be some areas where pheasant hunting will be slow.”


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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