Early Season Pheasant Hunting Report: North Dakota
With a ringneck population up nearly 60 percent, according to summer surveys, expectations had been set for fast and furious early pheasant hunting action in North Dakota. Two weekends in, has the season lived up to the hype?
It would seem so. According to three Pheasants Forever biologists in North Dakota who have been out walking grasslands, pheasant numbers have been outstanding. Here’s a compilation of their reports:
The reports I’ve been hearing, even in southeast North Dakota, are that numbers are better than we expected. I know we had higher brood counts, but the number of hens and roosters flying is even higher than I’ve seen in a couple years. A lot of people I talk to in southeast North Dakota have been finding limits – working hard, but finding them. As for the southwest, it’s been incredible and the reports are just wild out there. Anywhere south of I-94 is very good.
- Jesse Beckers, Regional Wildlife Biologist, Pheasants Forever – Valley City, North Dakota
The weather cooperated and conditions were nearly perfect for the opening of pheasant season in North Dakota. I hunted both Saturday and Sunday in southeast North Dakota. Most all of the crops are off with the exception of some remaining corn fields. There was a group of 6 of us hunting along with a couple of dogs. We were able to bag 10 roosters each day. Most of the roosters were holding down in the bottoms of dried up sloughs.
- Matthew Olson, Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist, Pheasants Forever – Forman, North Dakota
It was warm, dry and windy for opening weekend in western North Dakota. We hunted private land Saturday morning in Hettinger County with 7 shooters and 2 dogs. Habitat targeted included a 100-acre CRP block adjacent to cattails and a 50ft wide, mile-long waterway with standing corn on each side. We had our limit of 21 roosters in about 4 hours with plenty of missed opportunities. There are lots of young birds and some crop fields are still standing, although most of the crops are out in the area. Sunday was productive also, this time hunting public land in Stark County with 2 shooters and 1 dog. Targeted habitat was again permanent grass adjacent to cattails with a few tree/shrub rows added into the mix. We saw our limit, but only 4 roosters were in shooting range. The hens are holding and the roosters are running. The birds are here, but getting them to fly within gun range can be a challenge.
- Matt Flintrop, Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist, Pheasants Forever – Dickinson, North Dakota
Have you been pheasant hunting in North Dakota this year? If so, post your own report in the comments section below.
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