How Are North Dakota’s Game Bird Populations?
Recent roadside surveys in North Dakota, completed in late July and early August, have yielded encouraging information for the state's hunters.
Pheasants, grey partridges, and sharp-tailed grouse populations were the focus of the surveys, which revealed considerable population growth over the previous year.
The State Game and Fish Department's RJ Gross, an upland game biologist, claims that the extraordinary survey conditions this year may have contributed to the greater observations. He emphasised, however, that these circumstances shouldn't have a big impact on brood sizes or age ratios, both of which were increasing.
Gross claims that hunters may expect a successful season with numbers that are similar to or higher than those from the previous year, including a considerable number of hatch-year birds.
The survey's findings revealed the following numbers:
Broods per 100 miles climbed by 70%, while the number of pheasants observed per 100 miles jumped by an astonishing 61% from the previous year. Additionally, the average brood size grew by 2%.
Observers found 13.5 broods and 113 pheasants per 100 miles in the northwest region, which is a major improvement over the previous year.
Positive changes were also observed in the southeast, which had 49 pheasants and 5.4 broods per 100 miles.
9.8 broods and 86 pheasants per 100 miles in southwest North Dakota were significant increases.
In the northeast district, which typically has lower pheasant numbers, the survey indicated one brood and seven pheasants per 100 miles.
The survey revealed impressive growth for sharp-tailed grouse, with above-average production and a population resurgence resembling the years 2011–15. Statewide, observations of sharptails have increased by an astounding 116% every 100 miles.
Another strong recovery was shown by partridges, with observations per 100 kilometres increasing by 200%. According to the survey, there were 36 partridges and 2.4 broods per 100 kilometres, with an average brood size of 11.
Notably, partridge numbers eclipsed sharptail observations on brood routes for the first time since 1992 this year, marking an important milestone.
The grouse and partridge seasons in North Dakota will remain open until January 7, 2024, in light of these encouraging results. A two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend is planned for September 30 and October 1 so that young hunters can go after pheasants throughout the entire state. The pheasant season will begin on October 7 and run through January 7, 2024.