Data recently tallied from July and August roadside counts indicate sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge populations are down significantly from last year.
As of Aug. 28, brood results suggest sharp-tailed grouse numbers are down 51 percent statewide from last year, with the number of broods observed down 50 percent. The average brood size is about the same as in 2012, and the age ratio is up 19 percent.
The statewide Hungarian partridge population is down 34 percent from last year, and the number of broods observed is down 31 percent.
Aaron Robinson, upland game biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Dickinson, said even though spring survey numbers indicated a population comparable to last year, the telling factor is always late-summer counts.
“Fall hunting season success is directly correlated to the current year’s reproductive success – if there is a good hatch than logically there will be more birds on the landscape come fall hunting season,” Robinson said. “Spring census allows us to monitor the breeding population, which is used to track the base population trend over time.”
The season for sharp-tailed grouse, ruffed grouse and Hungarian partridge opens Sept. 14. Hunters should refer to the North Dakota 2013-14 Small Game Hunting Guide for further season information and regulations.