The first snow of the season, and the hunting was great!
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
For the first time in the history of South Dakota pheasant hunting, pheasant hunters will be able to begin hunting pheasants at 10 a.m. CT (9 a.m. MT) for the entire pheasant season, including the resident-only season, which begins this year on Saturday, October 10.
Hunters will also have the opportunity to hunt ringnecks for a couple of extra weeks as the Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission extended the season to January 31, 2021.
These extensions will provide additional opportunity for hunters and bring South Dakota in line with pheasant hunting states like Nebraska and Kansas that surround the pheasant hunting capital.
“It’s very exciting to offer these expanded opportunities to those who want to experience the greatest pheasant hunting in the nation,” said Kelly Hepler, Secretary of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.
"Behind Governor Noem’s Second Century Initiative, this is one more way we are working to secure South Dakota’s great outdoor heritage and the next 100 years of pheasant hunting in our state.”
The commission ultimately decided to retain the daily bag limit of three pheasants for the statewide season, but did vote to adopt an unrestricted harvest opportunity for those hunting on a private shooting preserve from Sept. 1 through the end of the statewide pheasant season. The commission amended the original proposal and voted to approve the modification allowing preserve hunters the opportunity if they obtained a statewide nonresident small game license plus a habitat stamp and, for residents, a combination license and the habitat stamp.
To view the proposals in their entirety, visit gfp.sd.gov/commission/information. Audio from the meeting is available through South Dakota Public Broadcasting and will soon be available on the GFP website as part of the meeting archive.
Monday, September 14, 2020
North Dakota’s roadside surveys conducted in late July and August indicate pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse and gray partridge numbers are up from last year.
State Game and Fish Department upland game biologist RJ Gross said results of the annual upland late summer counts brought some good news. “We had good residual cover to start the year, and good weather for nesting and brood-rearing,” he said. “There were some areas that experienced abnormally dry periods throughout the summer, but nesting appeared to be successful.”
Total pheasants observed per 100 miles are up 38% from last year, but 14% below the 10-year average. Broods per 100 miles are up 30% from last year and 16% below the 10-year average. Average brood size is up 10% from 2019 and 5% below the 10-year average. The final summary is based on 275 survey runs made along 100 brood routes across North Dakota.
“While these numbers are encouraging, it’s important to remember that bird numbers in the last five years have been lower than what upland game hunters have been used to for many years, due to changing habitat conditions and the drought of 2017,” Gross said. “For context, these numbers put us about half-way back to where we were prior to the 2017 drought. Local populations are building back up, but they are not at the point yet of spreading out into new territories. Hunters will need to find localized hotspots of pheasants.”
Observers in the northwest counted 12 broods and 91 pheasants per 100 miles, up from five broods and 39 pheasants in 2019. Average brood size was six.
Results from the southeast showed five broods and 41 pheasants per 100 miles, down from six broods and 51 pheasants in 2019. Average brood size was five.
Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicated eight broods and 70 pheasants per 100 miles, up from six broods and 41 pheasants in 2019. Average brood size was six chicks.
The northeast district, generally containing secondary pheasant habitat with lower pheasant numbers compared to the rest of the state, showed three broods and 22 pheasants per 100 miles, compared to three broods and 15 pheasants last year. Average brood size was six.
Sharptails observed per 100 miles are up 54% statewide, and partridge are up 45%.
Brood survey results show statewide increases in number of grouse and broods observed per 100 miles. Observers recorded two sharptail broods and 21 sharptails per 100 miles. Average brood size was six.
Although partridge numbers have shown a slight increase, Gross said most of the partridge harvest is incidental while hunters pursue grouse or pheasants. Partridge densities in general, he said, are too low to target. Observers recorded one partridge brood and 10 partridge per 100 miles. Average brood size was 10.
The pheasant season opens Oct. 10 and continues through Jan. 3, 2021. The two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend, when legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger can hunt statewide, is set for Oct. 3-4.
The grouse and partridge seasons opened Sept. 12 and continues through Jan. 3, 2021.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ annual roadside pheasant survey showed a 42 percent increase in the state pheasant index from 2019 and a 37 percent increase over the 10-year average, including an eyebrow-raising 146 percent increase over last year in southwestern Minnesota.
“The weather this spring and summer was favorable for pheasants and enabled more hens to raise chicks, which drove the increase,” said Tim Lyons, DNR upland game research scientist. “We didn’t get hit by spring snow storms or heavy rainfalls like in 2019 and that really is what let hens nest earlier and be successful.”
Though the spring was cooler than average, rainfall was at or below average across much of the state.
“Successful nests earlier in the breeding season also means that chicks will be in better shape going into the fall and winter, which can improve their odds of survival,” Lyons said. The peak pheasant hatch was approximately four days earlier than average this year.
Weather and habitat are the main influences on Minnesota’s pheasant population trends. Weather causes annual fluctuations in pheasant numbers, while habitat drives long-term population trends.
This year’s statewide pheasant index was 53.5 birds per 100 miles of roads driven. All regions of the pheasant range reported an increase in pheasant counts, with the southwest reporting the greatest increase—there, observers counted 90.5 birds per 100 miles, a 146 percent increase compared to 2019.
Hunters can expect great opportunities to see birds in the southwest and very good hunting prospects in the west-central, central, and south-central regions, which all reported more than 50 birds per 100 miles.
Read the full MN DNR article
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
The dogs of Soggy Acres travel to Montana for a unique and picturesque upland experience. Join the crew as they chase pheasants and Hungarian Partridge with Labrador Retrievers and Spaniels.