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Mott a hot spot during pheasant season

Associated Press

MOTT, N.D. - When pheasant hunting season is in full swing, this town turns blaze orange and Hettinger County's chief deputy takes a week off.

Gilbert Mehrer spends the time operating a bird-cleaning business with his wife, Loretta, and son, Carvel. On Sunday, successful blaze-orange-clad hunters started dropping off birds around 11 a.m., and the Mehrers stayed busy for more than 11 hours cleaning more than 100 birds.

The Mehrers get $3 a bird for their services, which include cleaning, bagging and freezing customers' birds.

Gilbert Mehrer said the number of hunters is about the same as last year, but they are having less success.

"The birds ain't too plentiful," said Paul Rick, of Pelican Rapids, Minn.

The state Game and Fish Department has said pheasant numbers in North Dakota are down about 15 percent from a year ago, when 592,000 birds were bagged, the highest total since 1946.

Paula Vohlen, who owns a restaurant in Mott that serves breakfast only during the first weeks of hunting season, said a cold spring and dry summer is the reason for the lower pheasant numbers. But she said she has heard no complaints from hunters about not getting their limit.

Parking spaces in front of Vohlen's business are at a premium, with the scores of hunters who flock to this town during bird season.

Jim Evanoff, of Mustang, Okla., said he has stayed at the Mott Motel for 10 years. Mark Wiegand, who lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., most of the year, co-owns a hotel in Mott. Milwaukee-area resident Kent Albrecht is part of a group of chiropractors that bought hunting land in the Mott area.

Out-of-state hunters say their only complaints are not being able to hunt on certain state land the first week of the season, and too many young birds this year.

On Sunday, Corey Lee was heading home to Jamestown after hunting in the area with several others.

"We didn't limit, but it went pretty well." he said. "It's enjoyable. There are nice people there."


Information from: Bismarck Tribune,

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