Ring-necked Pheasant and Grey Partridge Hunting Forecast for Southern Alberta – Late Summer 2018

Our late summer upland surveys indicate below average counts for ring-necked pheasant and grey partridge in 2018. We worked with volunteers and trained dogs to search in some of the best habitat the South has to offer. The survey sites include large coulee systems that harbour a mix of native and tame grasses, fruit bearing shrubs, creek, and cattail sections, often bordered by crop land. The flush rate for pheasants is down from last year and similar to the lows we saw in 2012. The flush rate for partridge is also down and the lowest we’ve observed since initiating these surveys in 2012. Overall, we flushed 129 pheasants and 151 partridge while covering 67 km over 29 hours of effort. The dogs had 1.5 pheasant and 0.8 partridge flushes per hour (single or covey). Averaged over the entire sample period this equates to roughly 2.3 flushes of either partridge or pheasant per hour. There are still birds out there but the effort between flushes was greater than normal. If you’re willing to put in the distance, we flushed 1.93 pheasants and 2.25 partridge for each km walked.

In many locations, this past winter was the worst seen in over 30 years. After a severe winter and late, wet spring, it's no surprise that counts are lower than previous years. With some hard work and dedication, wild birds can still be found. ACA releases pheasants on sites distributed from Peace River to Medicine Hat. Visit the ACA website to plan your hunts at over 40 sites. Buy your licenses and start making plans for your fall hunts.

A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers and ACA staff that helped pull this year’s survey together!

Survey results Ring-necked pheasant Grey partridge
Survey year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Distance surveyed (km) 53.6 60 30 46 47 46 67 53.6 60 30 46 47 46 67
Total count 111 215 73 155 263 163 129 354 420 397 292 159 214 151
Flushes/hour 1.37 2.59 1.96 2.44 3.32 2.23 1.54 1.37 1.59 3.53 2.15 0.83 0.96 0.82
Birds/km walked 2.07 3.58 2.43 3.37 5.6 3.54 1.93 6.6 7 13.2 6.35 3.38 4.65 2.25