North Dakota's spring pheasant population index is up slightly from last year, according to the state Game and Fish Department's 2014 spring crowing count survey.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor, said the number of roosters heard crowing this spring was up about 6 percent statewide from 2013, with increases ranging from about 2-9 percent depending on the region.
Kohn said the increase in the numbers statewide surprised him a bit.
He said last fall, there were not a lot of juvenile roosters taken during the fall season, usually an indication of a poor production year.
But going into a relatively mild winter, Kohn said, with the exception of the extreme southwestern part of the state soil moisture was ample across most of North Dakota.
That led to good residual cover for pheasants going into this year's nesting season which, unlike last year's wet and cold spring, was closer to normal in terms of timing.
This spring was cool as well, but recent rains could turn out to be more problematic than a year ago.