North Dakota Game & Fish News

•Spring Pheasant Count Down from Last Year

North Dakota’s spring pheasant population index is down 14 percent from last year, according to the State Game and Fish Department’s 2017 spring crowing count survey.

R.J. Gross, upland game management biologist, said the number of roosters heard crowing this spring was down statewide, with decreases ranging from 6 to 10 percent in the primary regions holding pheasants.

“December and January provided a rough start to winter, with record snowfall and extremely cold temperatures making it less than ideal for all wildlife,” Gross said. “In addition, last year’s production was below average, so we entered this spring with a lower than average number of adult upland birds.”

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.

“Currently, we have many pheasant broods starting to show up around the countryside,” Gross said. “I am hopeful production on all our upland game birds this summer will be average.”

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.

•Game and Fish Pays $644,000 in Property Taxes

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently paid more than $644,000 in taxes to counties in which the department owns or leases land. The 2016 in-lieu-of-tax payments are the same as property taxes paid by private landowners.

The Game and Fish Department manages more than 200,000 acres for wildlife habitat and public hunting in 51 counties. The department does not own or manage any land in Traill or Renville counties.

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