Skip to main content

Sooner State Pheasant Numbers Slightly Higher

Sooner State Pheasant Numbers Slightly Higher
The ring-necked pheasant was introduced in Oklahoma in 1911. Hunters can pursue cock pheasants in open areas from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31. (George Hodan photo)

Hunters planning to pursue ring-necked pheasants when Oklahoma's season opens Dec. 1 should find some birds to hunt this year, based on the annual field surveys conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

"Pheasant numbers will likely be similar to slightly higher than last year in the Panhandle, and slightly better in the north-central counties," said Scott Cox, upland game bird biologist for the Wildlife Department.

Cox attributed the slight improvement to the better nesting conditions found in 2014 in most of the state's pheasant range, thanks to some timely precipitation from April to August and mild temperatures during the summer.

The Wildlife Department conducts two pheasant surveys: a count of the number of crowing male birds heard in fields during April and May, and a count of the number of broods seen per mile along 20-mile routes during late August. The surveys are conducted in Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Kay, Major, Noble, Texas, Woods and Woodward counties.


Results are reported as an index for all the counties combined, but also for a subset of counties that traditionally has the highest pheasant densities: Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Grant and Texas counties. The indexes provide insight into the pheasant population over entire regions, and not necessarily for localized areas.


Cox said the brood counts help biologists determine how many young pheasants survived the summer, and it allows estimates to be made about pheasant production during the breeding season. "These brood count surveys are the primary means we use to help us understand the annual population status of pheasant and to give us an idea of what the hunting season may be like."

For this year, the brood count index stayed level with 2013 in the high-density counties, but declined slightly for all counties combined, compared with 2013's index. Cox said the nesting season during early summer was favorable in most of the pheasant range, but the number of nesting hens this season remained low.

However, the crowing count index increased 9 percent in the entire range from 2013's result. During these surveys, biologists drive county roads and listen for crowing cock pheasants in search of mates. The number of crowing pheasants heard yields an idea of how many adult males will enter the breeding season.

Cox said the higher crowing count index in 2014 was expected because of the mild winter. But the index still remains well below the 20-year average due to the effects of drought and heat experienced during 2011 and 2012.


"There will still be a fair number of adult birds to hunt this year in the areas that usually hold good pheasant numbers," Cox said. But birds will remain scarce in other areas where habitat has suffered. For example, most of Texas County remains in extreme drought conditions, and some observers report seeing very few pheasants on the ground there.

Pheasant hunting season will run through Jan. 31, and the daily bag limit is two cock pheasants only. Hunters must wear daylight fluorescent orange clothing when required. Residents and nonresidents are required to have an appropriate hunting license, available online at wildlifedepartment.com.

Areas open to pheasant hunting are Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Kay, Major, Noble, Texas, Woods and Woodward counties, as well as that portion of Osage County west of State Highway 18, and the portions of Blaine, Dewey, Ellis, Kingfisher and Logan counties north of State Highway 51. Seasons on public lands may vary from the statewide season. For other information and regulations, consult the "Oklahoma Hunting" guide online at wildlifedepartment.com or in print where hunting and fishing licenses are sold.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean.

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months.

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Simplify breakfast or brunch for a crowd by making this savory venison chorizo quiche recipe.Southwestern Venison Chorizo Quiche Recipe Wild Game

Southwestern Venison Chorizo Quiche Recipe

Allie Doran - October 30, 2020

Simplify breakfast or brunch for a crowd by making this savory venison chorizo quiche recipe.

Quick look at common, easy-to-catch fish species (video).Get On Board: Species 101 for Beginning Anglers Other Freshwater

Get On Board: Species 101 for Beginning Anglers

Game & Fish Staff

Quick look at common, easy-to-catch fish species (video).

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths.5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river.How to Catch Catfish Day and Night Fishing How-To

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

We know we have to follow legal regulations, but how do you apply personal ethics to the hunt?The Gray Area of Hunting in America Stories

The Gray Area of Hunting in America

Andrew McKean - April 27, 2020

We know we have to follow legal regulations, but how do you apply personal ethics to the hunt?

It was a difficult question for a young hunter to ask, and the answer didn't come any easier.Deer Camp Lesson Learned the Hard Way Stories

Deer Camp Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Jeff Johnston - February 04, 2020

It was a difficult question for a young hunter to ask, and the answer didn't come any easier.

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game & Fish 2018 Gear Guide magazine.Gear Reviews: New Coyote Hunting Rifles, Shotguns Stories

Gear Reviews: New Coyote Hunting Rifles, Shotguns

Game & Fish Online Staff - September 07, 2018

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game &...

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos Gomez. In this article, Gomez recounts his experiences from his first nighttime poaching bust.Behind the Badge: A Warden's First Night-Poaching Bust Stories

Behind the Badge: A Warden's First Night-Poaching Bust

Game & Fish Online Staff - July 30, 2018

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now