Pheasant data reveals increase
North Dakota's roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August suggests much improved production this spring, meaning more young birds added to the population and a better fall population in all areas of the state.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey shows total pheasants statewide are up 59 percent from last year. In addition, brood observations were up 65 percent, and the average brood size was up 16 percent. The final summary is the result of 255 runs made along 106 brood routes across North Dakota.
"The increase in numbers from last year is encouraging, but hunters are cautioned that the landscape has changed since last fall," Kohn said. "A great deal of habitat has been either hayed or converted to cropland as Conservation Reserve Program acres continue to diminish."
Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicate the number of broods was up 37 percent and number of birds observed was up 30 percent from 2011. Observers counted 19 broods and 168 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 6.5. "Census numbers indicate this district will have the best pheasant numbers in the state this fall," Kohn said.
Results from the southeast show the number of birds observed was up 134 percent from last year, and the number of broods was up 144 percent. Observers counted nine broods and 88 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 6.6. "Even though this district shows a large percentage increase, pheasant numbers were pretty low last year," Kohn said.
Statistics from the northwest indicated pheasants are up 258 percent from last year, with broods up 268 percent. Observers recorded nine broods and 79 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 6.3. "Similar to the southeast, hunters should temper expectations because numbers were low in this district last year," Kohn said.
The northeast district showed 1.5 broods and 12 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 4.9. Number of birds observed was up 155 percent, and the number of broods recorded was up 275 percent. "Hunters should concentrate their efforts in the southern counties of this district for the best potential to find birds," Kohn said.
The 2012 regular pheasant season opens Oct. 13 and continues through Jan. 6, 2013.
Report whooping crane sightings
Whooping cranes are in the midst of their fall migration and sightings will increase as they make their way through North Dakota over the next several weeks. Anyone seeing these birds as they move through the state is asked to report sightings so the birds can be tracked.
Whoopers stand about 5 feet tall and have a wingspan of about 7 feet from tip to tip. They are bright white with black wing tips, which are visible only when the wings are outspread. In flight they extend their long necks straight forward, while their long, slender legs extend out behind the tail. Young-of-the-year whoopers are white with scattered brown feathers. Whooping cranes typically migrate singly, or in groups of two or three birds, and may be associated with sandhill cranes.
Anyone sighting whoopers should not disturb them, but record the date, time, location and activity. Observers should also look closely for and report colored bands which may occur on one or both legs.
Whooping crane sightings should be reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office at 387-4397, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's main office in Bismarck at 328-6610, or to local game wardens around the state.
Photo contest deadline Sept. 28
North Dakota Game and Fish Department's annual Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is Sept. 28.
The contest has categories for non-game and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries. Contest entries are limited to digital files submitted on disk or via email. Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.
By submitting an entry, photographers grant permission to Game and Fish to publish winning photographs in "North Dakota OUTDOORS" magazine, and as part of the magazine on the Department's website, (gf.nd.gov).
Photo disks should be sent to Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest, c/o Patrick T. Isakson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries must be accompanied by the photographer's name, address, phone number and email address if available. Other information such as photo site location and month taken are also useful.
Hunters reminded of ANS regulations
Waterfowl hunters are reminded to do their part in preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species into or within North Dakota.
Waterfowl hunters must remove plants and plant fragments from decoys, strings and anchors; remove plants seeds and plant fragments from waders and other equipment before leaving hunting areas; remove all water from decoys, boats, motors, trailers and other watercraft; and remove all aquatic plants from boats and trailers before leaving a marsh or lake. In addition, hunters are encouraged to brush their hunting dogs free of mud and seeds.
Cattails and bulrushes may be transported as camouflage on boats. All other aquatic vegetation must be cleaned from boats prior to transportation into or within North Dakota.