Spring Pheasant Count Up from Last Year
North Dakota’s spring pheasant population index is up slightly from the same time last year, according to the state Game and Fish Department’s 2019 spring crowing count survey.
R.J. Gross, upland game management biologist, said the number of roosters heard crowing this spring was up about 6 percent statewide. The primary regions holding pheasants ranged from up 14 percent in the southeast and up 17 percent in the northwest, to down 8 percent in the southwest. The count in the northeast, which is not a primary region for pheasants, was up 33 percent from last year.
“We are still seeing the effects of the drought of 2017 that resulted in low chick survival,” Gross said. “Typically, a spring pheasant population is composed primarily of yearling roosters with nearly as many 2-year-olds, and currently we have very few 2-year-old roosters.”
Gross said hens should be in good physical shape for nesting season, and despite a cool spring, precipitation has helped supplement the residual grasses to produce ample nesting vegetation.
While the spring number is an indicator, Gross said it does not predict what the fall population will look like. Brood surveys, which begin in late July and are completed by September, provide a much better estimate of summer pheasant production and what hunters might expect for a fall pheasant population. “Barring significant storms or prolonged cold temperatures in June and July, we could be set for a good hatch,” Gross said.
Pheasant crowing counts are conducted each spring throughout North Dakota. Observers drive specified 20-mile routes, stopping at predetermined intervals, and counting the number of pheasant roosters heard crowing over a two-minute period during the stop.
The number of pheasant crows heard is compared to previous years’ data, providing a trend summary.
Fireworks Prohibited on WMAs, Camping Restriction Lifted for Holiday
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds citizens that possession or use of fireworks on state wildlife management areas is prohibited.
The primary objective of a wildlife management area is to enhance wildlife production, provide hunting and fishing opportunities, and offer other outdoor recreational and educational uses that are compatible with these objectives. Only activities that would not disrupt the intentions of how these areas are managed are encouraged, and a fireworks display is not compatible.
In addition, the Game and Fish Department will lift the Tuesday-Wednesday no-camping restriction for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday week, which will allow overnight camping July 2-3 on those WMAs that otherwise have this two-day restriction in place.
A complete list of the WMA regulations is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.
Put Garbage Where it Belongs
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds outdoor recreationists to keep public use areas, including state wildlife management areas, clean this summer by packing out all trash.
All garbage should be placed in a proper trash receptacle. If trash cans aren’t available, or are full, take the trash and dispose of it at home.
It is not uncommon to see garbage piling up around full trash containers. Styrofoam containers are not biodegradable, but yet are often found wedged in cattails, drifting or washed up on shore.
Tires, mattresses and kitchen appliances have found their way to public use areas. This illegal dumping is costly to clean up and takes a significant toll on the environment. Not only does it spoil the beauty of the land, it destroys habitat, has the potential to pollute North Dakota waters and can injure wildlife.
In addition, possession of glass bottles is prohibited on state wildlife management areas and state sovereign lands. Therefore, it is illegal for outdoor recreationists to possess glass containers on sandbars within the Missouri River System.
Littering violations should be reported by calling the Report All Poachers hotline at 701-328-9921.
A complete list of WMA regulations is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.