North Dakota hunters should expect to see a slight increase in sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge numbers this hunting season, based on spring survey numbers. However, the ruffed grouse population continues on a downward trend.
The season for sharp-tailed grouse, ruffed grouse and Hungarian partridge opens Sept. 8.
Aaron Robinson, State Game and Fish Department upland game management biologist, Dickinson, said the spring sharptail breeding population was up from last year. However, he said the continued losses of native prairie and acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program are negatively affecting the sharp-tailed grouse population in North Dakota.
Hungarian partridge numbers show a moderate increase from 2011. “Similar to recent years, scouting areas will be critical to success,” Robinson said. “Pockets of decent hunting may be found in areas where multiple pairs reproduced successfully.”
This spring’s statewide ruffed grouse drumming counts took a dip of 37 percent from 2011. The number of drumming males decreased almost 42 percent in the Pembina Hills and 24 percent in the Turtle Mountains.
Biologists are in the process of compiling summer brood date, which provides a more complete assessment of the fall season. Results will be available the first week in September.
The sage grouse and prairie chicken seasons will remain closed in 2012 due to low populations.
Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Sharptails, ruffed grouse and Huns each have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of 12.
Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters age 16 and older need a small game license.
For further season information and regulations, hunters should consult the North Dakota 2012-13 Small Game Hunting Guide.