ND Pheasant Crowing Counts Down Statewide 2013
North Dakota’s 2013 pheasant crowing count survey indicates that rooster numbers were down about 11 percent statewide compared to last year, heading into the spring breeding season.
All four pheasant districts had lower counts than last year.
The number of crows heard in the northeast declined by 18
percent, southeast and southwest by 11 percent, and the
northwest by nearly 2 percent.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the
State Game and Fish Department, said only the southwest
was initially spared a harsh winter, but a spring snowstorm
in April buried much of the area in more than
12 inches of snow.
“Had it not been for the long winter in most of the
state and the April storm, I would have expected a higher
crow count statewide this spring,” Kohn said. “But I
think we did lose some birds during late spring,
which reduced our 2013 spring breeding population
slightly from 2012.”
The late spring snowstorms and cooler than normal
April delayed breeding and nesting for all upland
game birds, Kohn said, with early nesting hens facing
rainy conditions, and probably some flooded nests.
“On the positive side, this occurred early enough in
the nesting season that most hens should have renested,”
he added. “In addition, the wet spring seemed to
jump start grass and forb growth in pastures, helping
later nesting pheasants with improved quality of
nesting habitat. Unless we experience some early s
ummer weather problems, I still expect much better
upland game production this summer from all our species.”
However, Kohn noted, the loss of CRP is going to
reduce nesting and brooding cover in the future,
and will negatively affect the pheasant population.
Spring crowing count data is not a good indicator of the
fall population. It does not measure population density,
but provides an index of the spring rooster population
based on a trend of number of crows heard. Brood
surveys, which begin in mid-July and are completed
by September, are a better indicator of the summer’s
pheasant production and provide insight into what to
expect for a fall pheasant population.
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.
Original ND Game and Fish post