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Nothing pleasant for pheasant hunters

Pheasant
Many woodsmen are having trouble finding their pheasants this season due to standing crops that have yet to be harvested. North Dakota Game and Fish Department photo.

While the 2019 pheasant season officially opened on Oct. 12, many hunters are experiencing a strange set of issues that are preventing substantial harvest this year.

The first of these problems, the actual number of pheasants in the field, has increased since the 2018 season, but as ND Game & Fish Management Supervisor, Jesse Kolar, told the Press, “We’re still down from where we were 5 years ago. Ever since the drought season of 2017, our numbers have been knocked back and haven’t recuperate.”

The conditions of 2019 couldn’t have been any different.

As Kolar explained, We went from a year when we had, what they called an exceptional drought in 2017, and then this year, we’ve had the exact opposite. Many landowners say they have never seen this much water sitting in the fall.”

Indeed, these wetter conditions have made it much harder for many farmers to gather their fields, a shortcoming, which in turn, makes it harder for hunters to amass their own commodities.

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“It’s been a real odd year,” Kolar said. “Since we had so much moisture from August through the fall, we have a lot of standing crops that farmers couldn’t get access to harvest.”

“Any time we have more cover in the form of crops, the pheasants have more places to hide and then, of course, those are the places where hunters aren’t allowed,” the supervisor continued.

Despite these unusual weather conditions, Kovar remains optimistic for this year’s season.

Male pheasant hunting season runs from Oct. 12 through Jan. 5, 2020. Hunters have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of 12.

Daily shooting hours run from 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

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