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Unpleasant pheasant forecast for 2010 season

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It looks like six weeks of rain washed out any prospects of a good pheasant hunting season in the valley. 

It appeared that the local pheasant population was on the rise last year after a mild-weather hatching season. 

Even with a warm and dry hatching season last year it was going to take some time for the pheasants to recover from a snowstorm in June of 2008 that wiped out the young pheasant population making for one of the worst hunting seasons in recent memory.

But a rainy May and June this season put an end to the positive trend and hunters should try to be content in taking their dogs out for a walk rather than getting a quarry.

John Grant, the wildlife manager for the Ninepipe Wildlife Management Area, said during the peak of hatching season (mid-May to the start of July) “It’s hard to remember a dry day. 

“From the middle of May to July, as I recall we only had three days in a row, where it didn’t rain,” Grant said.

Because of the wet two months, he expects the brood survival rate to be very low. 

The pheasants that did survive the hatching season won’t be very big. Grant explained it needs to remain above 50 degrees for insects, which are pheasant’s main protein source, to remain active.

“They had a real shortage on protein source. They need this to generate energy and keep them growing,” he said.

During a recent informal survey at the wildlife area, Grant said the few juvenile birds they saw were small, with a lot of the birds being the size of meadowlarks.

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