Posted 10/04/16 (Tue)
By Brad Nygaard
Northwest North Dakota could attract a lot of attention from out-of-state hunters this year.
“The Northwest has the largest increase in bird population of all our districts,” says Aaron Robinson, Upland Game Supervisor with the state Game and Fish Department. And after years of being locked out of lodging due to an oil boom, regulars who haven’t hunted in the area lately may be attracted once again.
Based on the department’s survey of nesting hens and the resulting brood counts, the pheasant population in northwestern North Dakota has increased exponentially.
“It’s the one bright spot in the state,” he says.
Tim Gjovig, who has 155 acres of CRP around his home in Divide County, says his customers at Hardware Hank are making optimistic reports, too.
“What I hear is there’s scads of birds out there,” says Gjovig. “Just talking to farmers, they’re seeing a lot out there.”
Robinson says the milder winters coupled with the habitat available has been favorable.
“If our numbers are accurate . . . hunters should have a good season in the Northwest.”
One exception, says Gjovig, are areas where a June hail storm pummeled nests. He looked around after the storm and found dead birds, abandoned nests, even a dead fawn. Later he looked again and found hens back on their nests, but with smaller broods.