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Last week there was huge excitement from South Dakota as they announced that they felt pheasant numbers would likely increase. This week North Dakota decided to join in the festivities. The spring survey results from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department found that there is some cause for celebrations.

According to the spring pheasant counts, the statewide population should increase by about 10% from last year’s count.

The actual increase of pheasants varied widely across the state with some areas only seeing a 2% rise while the primary pheasant regions saw 12%.

Stan Kohn, the upland game management supervisor for the state’s Game and Fish Department, has stated that a higher production year in spring 2014 and a much milder winter have helped to create a strong breeding population.

Even though the spring numbers are a positive step considering that pheasant numbers have been declining in the past decade, the numbers don’t indicate what the fall population will be like. The biggest cause for concern is the unfavorable weather this spring. However, Kohn did point out that this was not yet time to panic.

There is a reason to be worried about habitat loss. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has continued to see declines and variable commodity prices enticing landowners to convert grasslands into production, which can limit future populations.

In other state developments results from the spring sharp-tailed grouse census demonstrates that there could be a 22% increase in the number of male grouse found in the state. However, as with pheasants, this shouldn’t be seen as an indicator for a great hunting season. The lek counts are a measure of population trends and have never been a reliable hunting success predictor.

What is your opinion on the pheasant population numbers? Have you seen more pheasants this spring?

Let us know in the comments below.


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