Forecast: North Dakota pheasant numbers will be improved over all portions of the state compared to the past few seasons, up 59 percent as indicated by the state's roadside survey count, reports Stan Kohn, Upland Game Management Supervisor with the North Dakota Game & Fish Department. Kohn says mild winter weather and good spring weather plus nesting habitat availability in the spring equated to better nesting success and brood survival. Last year, hunters bagged 683,563 roosters in North Dakota.
Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicate the number of broods was up 37 percent and number of birds observed was up 30 percent from 2011. Observers counted 19 broods and 168 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 6.5. “Census numbers indicate this district will have the best pheasant numbers in the state this fall,” Kohn said. “A stronger breeding population this spring coupled with good production should provide hunters with plenty of birds and a good number of young birds this fall." Kohn says while the southwest portion of North Dakota will have the best numbers, wingshooters would be wise not to overlook the central part of the state.
Results from the southeast show the number of birds observed was up 134 percent from last year, and the number of broods was up 144 percent. Observers counted nine broods and 88 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 6.6. “Even though this district shows a large percentage increase, pheasant numbers were pretty low last year,” Kohn said. “With that said, hunters should see more pheasants than in 2011, especially after row crops are harvested.”
Statistics from the northwest indicated pheasants are up 258 percent from last year, with broods up 268 percent. Observers recorded nine broods and 79 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 6.3. “Similar to the southeast, hunters should temper expectations because numbers were low in this district last year,” Kohn said. “There will be some areas where pheasant hunting will be slow.”
Season Dates: October 12 through January 6, 2013
Daily Bag Limit: 3
Possession Limit: 12
Field Notes:: If you’re thinking about traveling to North Dakota, note that if you’re born after 1961, you must complete a certified hunter education course and show proof of certification when buying a license.