Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Apply now for the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener women’s mentored hunt

Women who are new to the sport of pheasant hunting or interested in learning more about the sport of hunting are encouraged to apply for a mentored hunt taking place during this fall’s Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener in Austin, Minn. The application deadline is June 28. 

Under the guidance of experienced women mentor hunters, successful applicants will learn the skills necessary to pheasant hunt during the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 11, and then take to the field on Saturday, Oct. 12. They will also have the opportunity to take part in the festivities of the weekend event, including a community banquet, hunter’s breakfast and wrap-up lunch. 

Applicants are required to have a firearms safety certificate and if selected, purchase a small game hunting license and pheasant stamp. A lottery will be used to select from applicants. 

For more information and to apply for the mentored hunt please see the original Grand Forks Herald post

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks begins new "working lands" program to boost pheasant habitat



East River landowners can begin enrolling their cropland in a new "working lands" program that's part of Gov. Kristi Noem's Second Century Initiative to boost pheasant hunting in the state.
In the new "Second Century Habitat Program," participants will agree to establish a perennial grassland cover on cropland acres for five years and will receive from the state free seed and a one-time $150 per acre payment at the beginning of the contract, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department announced last week.
The program provides "a short-term working lands conservation alternative to cropping marginal lands," the GFP Department said in the announcement. The program is open to all cropland located in eastern South Dakota, as well as Stanley, Jones, Lyman, Tripp and Gregory counties, according to the GFP. The initial goal is to enroll 5,000 acres in the program and GFP staff already has some landowners on board.
The focus at the program's start is on those areas because it's the primary pheasant range, although the habitat will benefit a diversity of species, said Tom Kirschenmann, the deputy director of GFP's Wildlife Division. But the intent is to expand the program into more areas of the state as they find more money for the program, he said.
Read the rest of the Argus Leader article

Monday, June 24, 2019

North Dakota 2019 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.
Read the full ND Game and Fish article

Monday, June 17, 2019

Idaho proposes changes to pheasant hunting rules

The proposed rule would allow the state to require people who hunt at pheasant stocking areas outside of its wildlife management areas to purchase a $20 permit. In southern Idaho, the department stocks pheasants on several of its wildlife management areas and requires hunters 18 and older to purchase a WMA permit to pursue pheasants. The proposed rule would allow the state to charge the same fee of adults who hunt pheasants in places other than WMAs that are stocked by the department. The revenue from the permits would help offset the cost of stocking pheasants.

Read the full Lewiston Tribune article

Friday, June 14, 2019

SD Governor's Pheasant Hunt moving to Sioux Falls in 2020

SIOUX FALLS (AP) – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says the annual Governor's Pheasant Hunt is moving to Sioux Falls and will become a sportsmen's convention open to the public next year.
Noem says the 2020 Governor's Hunt and Sportsmen's Showcase will be based at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. She says moving the annual event from Pierre to Sioux Falls will turn it into a national showcase for South Dakota's business opportunities.
The Argus Leader reports that next year's event will include a public sportsman industry vendor fair, a banquet for state leaders and business prospects, a public concert and pheasant hunting in southeastern South Dakota.

Friday, March 15, 2019

2020 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Returns to Minneapolis

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, the nation’s largest upland-themed event, will be held February 14, 15 & 16, 2020, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in the Twin Cities. The three-day celebration of upland habitat, hunting and conservation annually draws more than 20,000 supporters and will be presented by Federal Premium Ammunition. 

Minnesota is ground zero for Pheasants Forever, the nonprofit wildlife conservation organization having formed in Saint Paul in 1982. The Kandiyohi County Chapter of Pheasants Forever was the first local affiliate for the budding group in 1983. Today, there are 72 Pheasants Forever chapters, 2 Quail Forever chapters and more than 22,000 Pheasants Forever and/or Quail Forever members in Minnesota, making it the group’s largest membership footprint by state.

See more on Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic 2020

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

South Dakota pheasant nest predator bounty program proposed

By Nick Lowrey Nick.lowrey@capjournal.com

Gov. Kristi Noem’s pheasant nest predator bounty program took another step toward fruition March 1.
On that date, the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission accepted proposals to create the program and to allow traps on public lands until August. 31 every year. The bounty program proposal says species eligible for the $10 bounty are raccoons, skunks, opossums, badgers and red fox. Also, only South Dakota residents could collect bounties.
“We’re excited about the program,” said wildlife damage specialist Keith Fisk.
 Still, Fisk had to answer a couple of tough questions before the Commission accepted the proposal. Scott Phillips, for example asked what will stop someone from collecting the tails off of roadkills in order to collect bounties.
“Hopefully, that doesn’t happen,” Fisk said before going on to explain that to get paid, a person must sign a legal affidavit stating that they killed animal whose tail they’re turning in.
Commission chairman Gary Jensen asked Fisk to explain who will be paying for the bounties and how much the Department expects to spend on the program. Fisk said the money will come from hunting licenses and probably won’t cost more than around $400,000. Still it’s an educated guess, he said.
“I would be surprised if we reached more than $500,000,” Fisk said. “That’s 50,000 tails.”
Tracking the benefit of the bounty program, too, likely will prove difficult Fisk said. There’s science on both sides of the issue he said pointing to a South Dakota study in the 1970s that showed trapping could have an impact on localized areas and a more recent GFP study that showed mixed results.
“In my opinion it’s going to be very difficult to ascertain the benefit of the program,” Fisk said in reference to it’s helping pheasants.
Helping pheasants, though, is kind of beside the point, Department Secretary Kelly Hepler said. More than anything he said he want people to see the program as being about getting more people out in the field and trapping.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Snow could cause problems for Southern MN region's pheasant population





Some local wildlife is feeling the brunt of February's storms.
Small animals that don’t hibernate such as pheasants are often most impacted by the weather, especially with large snow drifts such as those from last weekend’s storm.
Coming into February, pheasants were in good shape due to a mid-winter warm spell, but a polar vortex and a lot of snow has turned that around. Heavy snowfall will cluster birds and increase competition for food, said Chris Fritz, Goodhue County Pheasants Forever vice president and habitat coordinator. If southern Minnesota doesn’t get some melting soon, roosters could begin killing hens in a fight for food.
 “If we haven’t already, we’re going to start losing hens to predation and self-destruction,” he said.
For an already struggling pheasant population, that’s bad news. Most of the area is already considered “very poor” for pheasant hunting by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, with less than 10 pheasants sighted per square mile during last year’s annual roadside survey.
The western side of Le Sueur County and part of eastern and central Goodhue County are considered “poor,” a step up from Waseca, Rice, Steele and Dakota counties, which are all “very poor.”
The closest area for "good" or "fair" pheasant hunting is in Nicollet County, which had over 49 birds per square mile in some western spots and between 25 and 49 birds in other spots during last year's survey.
In the state’s south central pheasant region, which contains Rice, Steele and Freeborn counties as its eastern border, the pheasant index is down 21 percent over its 10-year average and 71 percent from its long-term average.
Animals, including pheasants, do have coping mechanisms for the storms, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Area Wildlife Manager Jeanine Vorland said.