Ring-necked Pheasant and Grey Partridge Hunting Forecast for Alberta—Fall 2021

Beginning in 2020 we altered our survey methods by reaching out to the hunting dog community and asking for their assistance with gathering data. This expanded the area of coverage as well as the effort (e.g., survey time and distance walked) that will contribute to these annual surveys. Over time this will provide a broader geographic perspective of what the current hunting season will look like for pheasants and grey partridge compared to previous years. However, this change makes it difficult to compare results from 2020 and 2021 with those from previous years (see red line on below table). Volunteers were encouraged to survey areas throughout the entire province where at least one of these species occur, meaning some surveys took place in areas with no pheasant populations. For this reason, we have adjusted the effort (i.e., time/kilometers surveyed) for pheasants to correspond with surveys that took place in pheasant habitat.

These surveys indicate a higher flush rate per hour for both ring-necked pheasants and grey partridge in 2021 than in 2020. Although, the total count of pheasants was slightly lower than last year. Overall, 59 pheasants were flushed while covering 48 km with 18.3 hours of effort, and 355 partridge while covering 112 km over 41 hours. The dogs had 1.48 pheasant and 1.09 partridge flushes per hour (single or covey). Combined over the entire sample period, this equates to roughly 1.75 flushes of either partridge or pheasant per hour.

If you are willing to put in the distance, 1.22 pheasants and 3.18 partridge were flushed for each kilometre walked. This suggests that with some hard work and dedication, wild birds can be found in areas with good habitat. There are also lots of pheasant hunting opportunities on the Provincial Pheasant Release Sites ranging from Peace River to Medicine Hat. Visit the ACA website to plan your hunts at over 40 sites.

We wish everyone a safe and productive upland hunting season! A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers and ACA staff who helped pull this year’s survey together!