Pheasant and Partridge Brood Forecast - Summer 2016

Our late summer surveys indicate a better than average year for pheasants in southern Alberta. Dogs and handlers walked over 47 km in some of the best habitat the south has to offer. Although the province had an early start to harvest, crops in our survey area were partially standing during the surveys and this can skew results low. The flush rate for pheasants is the highest it’s been since we began these surveys in 2012 with > 3.3 flushes per hour. In most years the total number of birds flushed favors grey partridge by a factor of 2 to 5 times. This year the trend was reversed with far fewer partridge than normal. These lower encounter rates for partridge could be affected by the amount of standing crop in the areas surveyed although other anecdotal information supports the evidence for a downward trend. Over all, we flushed 263 pheasants and 159 partridge in just 19.25 hrs. The dogs were busy and when averaged together this equates to more than 4 flushes per hour of either partridge or pheasant. That’s a flush every 15 minutes. Looked at from a different angle, we flushed 5.6 pheasants and 3.38 partridge for each km walked. So get your shotguns and buy your licenses; this year promises to be another good year for Upland Gamebird hunting in Southern Alberta.

Thanks goes out to the volunteers and staff that helped pull this survey together!

 

General study area of pointing dog transect surveys.

 

Survey results Ring-necked pheasant Grey partridge
Survey year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Distance surveyed (km) 53.6 60 30 46 47 53.6 60 30 46 47
Total count 111 215 73 155 263 354 420 397 292 159
Flushes/hour 1.37 2.59 1.96 2.44 3.32 1.37 1.59 3.53 2.15 0.83
Birds/km walked 2.07 3.58 2.43 3.37 5.6 6.6 7 13.2 6.35 3.38