Bird report Central/South Cerntral ND

Here is my report From Central ND. I was there on July 2nd and again July 9th.

First of all in my area we are really wet. the cover is as good as I have seen in 5-10 years maybe more. My dad actually said we didn't need rain. He NEVER SAYS that.

I saw mallards on almost every watering hole around. I drove up to devils lake on july 9th and was surprised how much water and ducks I saw on the trip. Was very optimistic about the duck hunting possibilities this fall.

On July 2nd I came across about 20 hens with broods in one day. I was shocked that in about 3 of the broods the baby pheasants flew. I can't ever remember chicks flying this early and two were extremely good flyers. I would say they both flew about 1/4 mile.

We were setting up 3 Stump Deer Blinds so I spent about 14 hours in the field. I was traveling around quite a bit, but was impressed with the number of hens I saw. I however only saw 1-5 chicks in each brood. And I saw most Broods when traveling a gravel road from 6pm-9pm. Probably as the birds where getting gravel. The reason I might of seen such small broods was I simply missed birds Because the grass was so thick.

When I was there on July 9th I saw 3 Broods, in about 2 hours from 7pm to 9pm. again the broods were small (2,3,3). Only the hens flew the chicks ran into ditches this time.

We had a mild winter and an accommodating and earlier nesting season imo. so I am optimistic about this year. I doubt we lost many birds over the winter. also, the hens came out of the winter in good shape, and could use there energy for nesting and not survival, Nesting season has been warm and wet, which beats last year hot and dry conditions.

On a negative side. the predators have had an easy winter too. A few guys who hunt skunks coyotes and coons on my land. said it has been a great year for them. One guy told me he shot 5 coons on last Monday night.

I will say I usually am pretty optimistic on this site but I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw on my two trips and what other farmers are seeing; as in terms of cover, weather, and numbers. I don't put much stock in crowing counts I find brood counts and what farmers tell me waaaay more important.

We had a solid year last year hunting on my farm we really didn't see much of a downtick over 2016 I would say down 5-10%, but on my dads farms I would say we saw close to 50-70% decrease in pheasant numbers. I was really surprised by the decimation last years winter and nesting season caused on the pheasants at Dads farms.

I hope this helps, or you guys find it useful.

Also I saw 4 pairs of huns on July 2nd. On July 9th I saw one really small brood of at least 10. so was very pleased seeing that many huns around.

James O

Thank you pheasant hunter great report.Sounds better than last year.
I think these reports from guys on the ground are the most accurate of
All reports
Thanks for the update. I usually don't even read the spring crow counts, as they just seem like shots in the dark (at least to me). I rely solely on farmer contact and the roadside report in september. Glad to hear you're seeing broads each trip. Looking forward to the season!


Has been depressing seeing what the drought and loss of CRP have done in that area. The drought certainly being the worse since it has effected peoples livelihood. When we were there last year the dirt on the roads was like flour it was so dry and we saw the fewest birds in 11 years. The report above is very encouraging since it is first hand and from someone with a lifetime of experience in the area. Texted with a farmer friend in the same general area , said he had seen a few pheasant chicks. The sighting of hun broods really excites me. Hopefully no hail and no crazy early snow storms before I get there!! I too agree with the brood counts being the best indicator. Second is weather / winter cover for carry over birds.