Bismarck – With the start of North Dakota’s Pheasant Season less than a month away, the Game and Fish Department wants you to know it may take a little longer this year to bag that bird.
That’s because the Pheasant population in the southwest portion of the state is still recovering from a severe drought that happened in 2017.
The Game and Fish Department says a recent survey of the southwest — which is the most popular hunting spot in the state for the birds — showed a 7-percent decrease in the population over last year.
Several factors led to the dramatic decrease in the Pheasant Population including the conversion of hundreds of acres of grassland back to crop production.
KX News spoke with the Game and Fish Department about why the drought was so hard on the birds.
“The first two weeks after an upland bird hatches, they need insects, strictly insects for protein and nutrients to grow, if there’s no water, the bugs can’t complete their life cycle, so there’s zero bug production and when that happens, upland bird chick survival is very low,” said RJ Gross the Upland Game Biologist with the ND Game & Fish Dept.
The news isn’t all bad as Pheasant numbers in the Southeast and Northwest are up nearly 10% over last year.
Pheasant season in North Dakota gets underway October 12th and lasts through January 5th of next year.