Pheasant numbers in Dakotas some of the lowest on record


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Pheasant numbers in the Dakotas are down to some of the lowest levels on record. And biologists say the drop is blamed largely on the worst drought to hit the states in decades.

North Dakota’s roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August shows the number of birds is down 61 percent from last year. A similar survey in South Dakota shows a 45 percent drop.

Biologists say drought reduces the amount of insects available for pheasant chicks to eat and also decreases habitat, leaving young birds more susceptible to predators.

North Dakota upland game biologist R.J. Gross says hunters typically kill 500,000 pheasants or more in the state in a good year. Gross says he expects fewer than 300,000 birds to be harvested in North Dakota this year.