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31

Reports are out in North Dakota regarding the 2012 pheasant hunting season.

The number of pheasant hunters was up 4%, but the number of pheasants taken was down 10%. Those numbers are not a surprise based on the reports leading into the 2012 season. It was expected to be one of the down years based on the traditional cycle for the bird population. There were also some things that happened with the weather throughout the year - like massive summer droughts - that caused the bird population to be down.

As for 2013, there have been consistent reports since the spring that it could be a difficult year again for pheasant hunters. The populations are expected to be down across the West and Midwest including North Dakota.

The winter got off to a mild start last fall, but as February and March came around the snow and cold picked up. In some parts of the country there were blizzards and snowfall all the way through April and in some cases into May.

It was a really late spring and the cold and wet weather made it difficult for pheasants to have a proper hatching season.

It’s not that the birds haven’t had a nesting seasons. Things were just pushed back a few weeks, which could lead to a smaller population if fewer birds are able to make it all the way through to the fall hunting season.

Early counts put the population down compared to the same time of year in past seasons, but it’s still early. There could be an uptick in the birds this year, but all indications at this point seem to say that the spring weather will have a negative impact on pheasant hunting in North Dakota and other surrounding states.

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