2017 drought still causing problems in state’s pheasant population, according to North Dakota Game and Fish Department
There is some good news on the pheasant front in North Dakota.
As habitat loss and a drought two years ago have depressed the population of the popular game bird, the annual North Dakota Game and Fish Department spring crowing count survey shows a slight uptick in bird numbers from a year ago.
That’s according to a press release from the department, which says the number of roosters heard crowing this spring was up about 6 percent statewide. The primary regions holding pheasants ranged from up 14 percent in the southeast and up 17 percent in the northwest, to down 8 percent in the southwest. The count in the northeast, which is not a primary region for pheasants, was up 33 percent from last year.
“We are still seeing the effects of the drought of 2017 that resulted in low chick survival,” Gross said in the press release. “Typically, a spring pheasant population is composed primarily of yearling roosters with nearly as many 2-year-olds, and currently we have very few 2-year-old roosters.”
Higher spring crowing counts does not mean a higher population of pheasants in the fall. Game and Fish should get a better handle on what the fall population will look like when it takes brood surveys from late July to September.
Pheasant crowing counts are conducted 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 two-minute period during the stop.