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Published September 20, 2012, 08:54 AM

North Dakota pheasant numbers up 59% this year

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A summer survey shows a much larger pheasant population in North Dakota this year, but wildlife officials are urging hunters in some areas to temper expectations because last year's numbers were low.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A summer survey shows a much larger pheasant population in North Dakota this year, but wildlife officials are urging hunters in some areas to temper expectations because last year's numbers were low.

The state Game and Fish Department estimates that the number of pheasants statewide is up 59 percent over the year. Upland Game Management Supervisor Stan Kohn says the increase is encouraging, though he says habitat continues to be lost to haying or to crops.

Kohn cites several factors for the population increase, including a mild winter and a nice spring.

Three straight harsh winters beginning in 2008 cut into pheasant numbers. Last year's survey found a population drop of one-third from the previous year.

This year's regular pheasant season opens Oct. 13 and runs through next Jan. 6.

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