North Dakota’s 2020 pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge harvests were up from 2019, according to statistics compiled by the state Game and Fish Department.
Upland game biologist RJ Gross said the overall harvest was likely because of increased production of upland birds and favorable weather conditions for hunters.
“The increases are largely due to a larger pheasant breeding population and an increase in production of upland game bird chicks across most of the state that we observed during our 2020 spring crowing and late summer roadside counts,” Gross said.
Looking back, Gross said the 2020 spring pheasant crowing counts showed a 15% increase in the breeding population, and roadside counts showed 10% more birds per mile and 17% more broods per mile compared to 2019.
“Combine that with favorable weather conditions late into the hunting season and more hunters on the landscape, you end up with more birds in the bag,” he said.
Last year, 57,141 pheasant hunters (up 14%) harvested 330,668 roosters (up 28%), compared to 50,000 hunters and 256,800 roosters in 2019.
Counties with the highest percentage of pheasants taken were Hettinger, Divide, Bowman, Williams and Morton.
A total of 19,971 grouse hunters (up 43%) harvested 86,965 sharp-tailed grouse (up 153%), compared to 14,000 hunters and 34,300 sharptails in 2019.
Counties with the highest percentage of sharptails taken were Mountrail, Burleigh, Sheridan, Stutsman and Morton.
Last year 16,795 hunters (up 41%) harvested 52,251 Hungarian partridge (up 60%). In 2019, nearly 11,900 hunters harvested 32,600 Huns.
Counties with the highest percentage of Hungarian partridge taken were Mountrail, Morton, McLean, Williams and Divide.