By Samual Vriend
The Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) once again reached out to volunteers to help gather information on upland bird numbers to better understand trends and provide insight for hunters looking to get out this fall.
Both pheasants and grey partridge (Huns) numbers are up compared to the past couple of years.
The total count of pheasants was higher than last year despite significantly less survey distance covered. Overall, 78 pheasants were flushed while covering 26 km over 11.6 hours of effort, for a flush rate of 1.55 encounters per hour (single or covey).
More survey effort went into grey partridge, compared to pheasants, with participants covering 46 km over 18.3 hours returning 1.31 encounters per hour (single or covey).
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 and effort (e.g., survey time and distance walked) contributing to these annual forecasts.
Over time, this will provide a broader geographic perspective of how the current hunting season for gamebirds will appear compared to previous years. However, this change in protocol makes it difficult to compare results from 2020 onward with those generated from 2019 and prior years (see red vertical line on table below).
Volunteers were encouraged to survey areas throughout the entire province where at least one species of gamebird occurs. However, not all gamebirds are found in all habitats, and there can be quite a bit of variability among the areas surveyed within the same year. Summarized results are provided in the tables below.
From this short survey, it appears that upland hunters have every reason to get out there and put in the effort 2022! ACA volunteers moved 3 pheasants and almost 5 partridges for every kilometre walked, so with boot leather on the ground it should be a very good year!
A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers and ACA staff who helped pull this year’s survey together! If you are interested in participating with next year’s fall forecast, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pheasant Hunting Opportunities
Search for habitat that is preferred by wild birds and seek landowner permissions to open up additional opportunities. Find pheasant hunting opportunities on Provincial Pheasant Release Sites ranging from Peace River to Medicine Hat.