After two years of lower upland game populations, fewer hunters pursued these game birds last fall. With that said, North Dakota’s 2019 pheasant and sharp-tailed grouse harvests were down from 2018, while the number of Hungarian partridge taken last year was similar to the year before, according to statistics compiled by the state Game and Fish Department.
Upland game management supervisor Jesse Kolar said the overall harvest was down despite slight increases in most population survey estimates.
“This was likely due to continued declines in hunter numbers and hunter days afield following lower population trends,” Kolar added. “We also still have lower densities of upland game birds in areas that traditionally had much of the harvest – pheasant numbers were still low in the southwest and sharptail numbers remained low in the badlands.”
Nearly 50,000 pheasant hunters harvested 256,800 roosters (down 25%) in 2018, compared to 59,400 hunters and 342,600 roosters in 2018.
Counties with the highest percentage of pheasants taken were Hettinger, Divide, Bowman, Williams and McLean.
In 2019, 14,000 hunters harvested 34,300 sharp-tailed grouse (down 34%), compared to 15,200 hunters and 51,800 birds in 2018.
Counties with the highest percentage of sharptails taken were Mountrail, Burleigh, Ward, Stutsman and McKenzie.
Last year, 11,900 hunters harvested 32,600 Hungarian partridge (up 5%). In 2018, nearly 12,500 hunters harvested 31,200 Huns.
Counties with the highest percentage of Huns taken were Mountrail, Ward, McLean, Williams and Divide.