SD pheasant numbers down; Some birds may have gone to ND

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota’s annual pheasant brood survey shows that total pheasants are up 10% from last year and broods have increased by 17%, which state Game and Fish Department officials describe as steady improvement from a dismal year in 2017.

The numbers released Monday are particularly encouraging in the northwest, up 49% percent from 2018, and southeast, which saw a 32% increase. Upland game biologist RJ Gross says this was the first year “in a while” with good residual cover to start the year and good weather for nesting and brood-rearing.

Gross says the state’s primary pheasant hunting district, in southwestern North Dakota, is “slowly improving” although total birds were down 7%.

Neighboring states South Dakota and Minnesota each saw 17% drops in total pheasants from last year.