DAILY LIMIT! Just three days remain until Pheasant Opener. We’re convinced it’s not a coincidence that’s the same number of birds in your daily ND limit. We talk more about pheasant biology, rooster harvest and how it does little to nothing to the population in today’s Three Things. Even in years where numbers are low, you shouldn’t feel bad about taking a few roosters.
(Featured Photo: Eggshells in a pheasant nest under a small pine signify a successful hatch. While roosters are the important focus this weekend, hens take center stage the rest of the year. Simonson Photo)
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Wed 10/4 – Quintessential autumn day. Hi 53, Lo 38, Winds WtoS@7.
Tomorrow: Thu 10/5 – More fall perfection. Hi 57, Lo 40, Winds L&V.
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 7:47AM Sunset: 7:15PM
Moonrise: 7:10PM Moonset 6:14AM
Overhead: 12:23AM Underfoot: 12:47PM
Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous (95% Full)
EDGE HOUR. 6:45 – 7:45PM. Sneak out to your bow stand after supper for today’s Edge Hour and catch deer on the move in the light winds and under the start of the October full moon and make the last of legal light the best part of your day.
A CLINIC IN FERTILITY. Did you know that one rooster pheasant can breed up to 20 hens in a spring? While typically a rooster will mate with just five to 10 hens, they are capable of doing a whole lot more to help carry on the population. When you see those late-season flushing rooster-to-hen ratios getting out to 1:7 or 1:10, don’t worry, there’s plenty of males left to help beget the next generation.
LOW IMPACT. According to a great article on Pheasants Forever’s website on impacts of hunting, harvest by hunters typically takes 45 to 65 percent of the rooster population out each fall. Factoring in an additional 10 percent for wounded and crippled birds that aren’t located after the shot, anywhere from about half to three quarters might be gone by end of season. Biologists state that more than 90 percent of roosters could be removed without any noticeable impact to spring nesting.
SIMPLE MATH. Removal of the roosters, typically more dominant, forceful birds also opens up carrying capacity of habitat for the real engines that drive the pheasant hunting machine – hens. In areas of smaller habitat, less roosters makes more room for hens in deeper – though sometimes less available – thermal habitat like cattails or low brush, helping them make it through the lean months to lay eggs in the spring in better shape. That being said, we can’t figure out why they make the hens flush in front of them either!