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Pheasant Crowing Counts Down from Last Year
North Dakota’s 2007 ring-necked pheasant spring crowing count survey revealed a 9 percent decrease statewide compared to last year, reports Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the State Game and Fish Department.

The survey indicated crowing counts are down 8-10 percent in all areas of the state except the northwest, which was up 10 percent from last year. “These decreases are not large, and do not depict a major decline in the breeding population,” Kohn said.

Pheasant crowing counts are conducted each spring throughout North Dakota. The index does not measure an entire population density, Kohn said, but is an indicator of the pheasant population trend. Observers drive specified 20-mile routes, stopping at predetermined intervals, and count the number of pheasant roosters heard crowing during the stop. The information recorded is compared to previous years’ data, providing a population trend.

The breeding rooster index still looks good compared to the last several years. “Our breeding population remains strong, and it continues to be as high as we have had in the last 30-40 years,” Kohn said.

With average production this summer, Kohn expects a good pheasant hunting season in many parts of the state. His only concern is what effect, if any, the heavy rains that fell from late May through mid-June may have had on hatching success and brood mortality. “Unfortunately, these extremely wet conditions came at about the peak of the pheasant hatch,” he said.

Brood surveys begin in mid-July, and by mid-August biologists will have a feel for what pheasant production was this summer. “At that time we will be able to provide a better insight on what to expect this fall,” Kohn said. “But as of now, early signs point toward a strong pheasant population.”

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