Friday, September 9, 2022

ND Pheasant Count UP 9% Over 2021


North Dakota’s roadside surveys conducted in late July and August indicate pheasant and gray partridge were up from last year, while sharp-tailed grouse numbers were down.

State Game and Fish Department upland game supervisor Jesse Kolar said the annual upland late summer counts showed mixed results. “We observed an increase in pheasant and partridge densities and reproductive rates with average brood size and age ratios, while sharptails decreased in density but had improved reproductive rates from 2021,” Kolar said.

Total pheasants (49) observed per 100 miles are up 9% from last year and broods (5.3) per 100 miles are up 8%. The average brood size (6.2) is up 7%. The final summary is based on 278 survey runs made along 100 brood routes across North Dakota.

Observers in the northwest counted 11 broods and 96 pheasants per 100 miles, up from eight broods and 68 pheasants in 2021. Average brood size was six.

Results from the southeast showed five broods and 39 pheasants per 100 miles, up from three broods and 24 pheasants in 2021. Average brood size was five.

Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicated five broods and 48 pheasants per 100 miles, down from six broods and 59 pheasants in 2021. Average brood size was five chicks.

The northeast district, generally containing secondary pheasant habitat with lower pheasant numbers compared to the rest of the state, showed two broods and 18 pheasants per 100 miles, compared to three broods and 24 pheasants last year. Average brood size was seven.

Kolar said sharptail hunters should expect to find more hatch-year grouse this fall.

“The rangeland vegetation is significantly taller, and there will be many more areas to search to find grouse,” he added. “However, we have not had significant amounts of precipitation since mid-July, upland rangelands may not be as productive as hillsides or low-lying riparian areas, particularly if the fall remains hot. Although the densities were highest in the southwest, the relative trends remain highest in the prairie potholes along the Missouri River.”

Sharptails observed per 100 miles are down 30% statewide. Brood survey results show observers recorded two sharptail broods and 13 sharptails per 100 miles. Average brood size was six.

Generally, Kolar said, most of the partridge harvest is incidental while hunters pursue grouse or pheasants. But this year, with partridge numbers looking impressive, he said there may be pockets where hunters could focus primarily on partridge.

“Huns have rebounded, and the last time they were this good was in 2015,” Kolar said.

Partridge observed per 100 miles are up 46%. Observers recorded one partridge brood and 12 partridge per 100 miles. Average brood size was 10.

The grouse and partridge seasons open Sept. 10 and continue through Jan. 1, 2023.

The pheasant season opens Oct. 8 and continues through Jan. 1, 2023. The two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend, when legally licensed residents and nonresidents 15 and younger can hunt statewide, is set for Oct. 1-2.

Read the original ND Game and Fish article

Iowa 2022 Pheasant Numbers Nearly The Same As 2021


Results of Iowa’s 2022 pheasant population survey are in and the results were nearly identical to that of 2021, when hunters harvested the highest number of roosters in more than a decade.

The annual August roadside survey found Iowa’s statewide pheasant population to be slightly under 20 birds per 30-mile route.  

Within the survey, the northwest, west central and north-central regions again had the highest counts within the state, followed by the northeast and central regions. The full report is available at

“If hunters enjoyed last year, they should enjoy this year. Pheasant hunting will again be good for most of the state, with the best hunting being north of Hwy. 30,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Based on the results of the August roadside survey, Iowa hunters can expect to harvest 300,000 to 400,000 roosters this year, which is similar to last year, when the harvest was the highest in more than a decade.

“Bird harvest relies heavily on the number of hunters in the field and the past two years saw highest number of pheasant hunters since 2009, and that has translated into our increased harvests,” Bogenschutz said. “The birds are there, so the harvest totals will depend on how many hunters return.”

An estimated 63,000 hunters participated in 2021, a slight increase over 2020.

While the pheasant count varied by region, the quail count was more consistent; and this year, it was consistently higher across southern Iowa’s quail range.

“We had a lot of anecdotal reports of quail whistling this summer and that increase was reflected in the survey,” Bogenschutz said. The highest counts came from southwest Iowa, followed by the south-central region.

Iowa’s partridge population was unchanged from last year, with the better numbers coming from the northcentral region. Iowa’s rabbit population was also unchanged from last year with the better population in the south-central region, but good numbers across the state.

The annual August roadside survey has been collecting data on Iowa’s upland game populations since 1962.

Hunters have the opportunity to hunt these species on additional acres of private land enrolled into the popular Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP).

Enrollment in the program is at an all-time high of nearly 32,000 acres. The IHAP allows hunters access to the portion of the property covered by the agreement, from Sept. 1 to May 31. Conservation officers will provide assistance, and enforcement, if needed.

  • Youth pheasant season is Oct. 22-23
  • Pheasant season is Oct. 29-Jan. 10, 2023
  • Quail season is Oct. 29-Jan. 31, 2023
  • Rabbit season is Sept. 3-Feb. 28, 2023
  • Partridge season is Oct. 8-Jan. 31, 2023
  • View the original Iowa DNR article

Thursday, September 8, 2022

MN 2022 Pheasant Count UP 18%













Pheasant numbers in Minnesota increased 18% from 2021, and exceeded the 10-year average by similar amount, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ annual roadside pheasant survey.

When the pheasant hunting season opens on Saturday, Oct. 15, bird numbers are expected to be strong.

“The weather really cooperated this year in terms of producing favorable nesting conditions for pheasants,” said Tim Lyons, DNR upland game research scientist. “Pheasant numbers are generally as good or better than last year.”

This year’s statewide pheasant index was 48 birds per 100 miles of roads driven. Compared to 2021, all regions saw an increase in pheasant numbers except the southwest, which saw a decrease of 8%.

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.

Habitat factors

Conservation Reserve Program acres in particular play a large role in providing habitat for pheasants in Minnesota. The program, authorized under the federal Farm Bill, pays farmers to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and restore vegetation that will reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators.

Despite a long-term downward trend in CRP enrollment, there was a net increase in CRP acres in 2022 as approximately 5,000 additional acres were enrolled. In addition to CRP acres, there were more than 7,000 acres protected through easement programs like the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and Reinvest in Minnesota. An additional 9,000 acres of habitat were permanently protected through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquisitions and by the DNR as wildlife management areas.

Read the FULL DNR report HERE