Outdoors blog

Area bird hunting outlook ripe with hope

A ringneck pheasant rooster shows his spring mating colors in Eastern Washington's wintery weather of April 2011. (Rich Landers)
A ringneck pheasant rooster shows his spring mating colors in Eastern Washington's wintery weather of April 2011. (Rich Landers)

UPLAND BIRD HUNTING --Hunters chilled at the thought of what the cool, rainy spring was doing to nesting pheasants and quail in June.

 Indeed, the pheasant hatch isn’t anything to crow about, but it’s not as bad as hunters may have feared in some areas.

In Whitman County, the first hatch for the most part was wiped out, said Joey McCanna, WDFW upland bird specialist. “I have heard good reports of re-nest attempts from landowners harvesting wheat,” he said last week.

In the Columbia Basin, wildlife biologists are reporting the best pheasant hatch since 2005, McCanna said. “Hunters will need to concentrate on good cover adjacent to food.”

In the Snake River region of Idaho, Fish and Game Department biologists indicate quail and Hungarian partridge had modest reproductive success and pheasants did better than the did last year, although last year’s hatch was pitiful.

 Idaho partridge populations are down slightly from 2010 and long-term averages. Pheasant numbers are up from last year, but still be low the averages.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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