Earlier start to North Dakota pheasant season could boost local economies
BISMARCK, N.D. — Some say an earlier start to the pheasant season could add a boost to local economies in areas where pheasant hunting is big business.
A new law requires North Dakota’s pheasant season to open no later than Oct. 12. This year, the season will start the Saturday before that date — on Oct. 7. The season traditionally started on the second Saturday of October, which meant that Oct. 8 would have been the earliest possible start.
“For the economy, I can’t imagine this wouldn’t be a positive thing,” Don Gion, operator of the Crocus Inn bed and breakfast operation in Regent, told the Bismarck Tribune. Regent and Mott are ground zero for bird hunters.
Jeb Williams of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department said he doesn’t think the change will affect the birds. But early in the season it can be hard to distinguish males from females, which are prohibited.
Rachel Bush, state coordinator for Pheasants Forever, added that hunters will need to be cautious because late-hatched roosters may not yet display all the brilliant coloration that sets them apart from hens.
“Young birds can be hard to identify,” she said.
In Regent, Gion said he thinks the change will mostly affect out-of-state hunters, who plan in advance and are leery of scheduling later in the year due to wintry weather.
The pheasant season will open Oct. 6 in 2018.