2002 Kansas Pheasant Crowing Survey Complete

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2002 KANSAS PHEASANT CROWING SURVEY COMPLETE

Populations reflect low numbers seen last year

Kansas W & P

6/27/02

PRATT -- The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has recently compiled the results of its spring pheasant crowing survey (PCS) which, combined with the summer brood count survey in August, will help determine the outlook for the fall pheasant crop. The survey period was from April 25 through May 15.

Of the 63 established routes, all but 1 were successfully run. Forty-six of the routes were completed in both 2001 and 2002 by the same observer.

Results of this spring's crowing survey reflect the effects of the hot, dry conditions that severely limited pheasant production in southern Kansas last summer. Conditions in northern sections of the state last summer were more moderate. The Rangewide PCS index was 9.2 crows per station, virtually unchanged from the exceptionally low levels reached in 2001.

Increases in the PCS index were observed in all the northern regions. In the northwest, all 12 routes were run and 11 were run by the same observers as in 2001. The overall northwest PCS index was 12.8, and the 11 routes comparable to 2001 increased by an average of 8.9 percent, which was not statistically significant. Of these 11 routes, five declined and six increased. The PCS index remains exceedingly low in the far northwest where the extreme drought of 2000 is, unfortunately, recurring this year.

All of the 12 routes in the northcentral region were run, yielding a PCS index of 9.8, but only seven were run by last year's observer. The average of those seven routes increased by 42.9 percent, a significant increase. Five of those routes increased compared to 2001.

All of the 10 routes in the northeast survey region were successfully run, but only five were run by the 2001 observer. The overall PCS index was 4.8. The 5 comparable routes increased by 44.6 percent over last year; however, this was not statistically significant due to the small comparable sample size. Three of the five comparable routes approximately doubled over 2001, with two routes declining.

In the southwest, all of the 18 routes were successfully run, and 15 were run by last year's observers. The overall PCS index was 10.5. The 15 comparable routes were down 17.1 percent, which is statistically significant. Eight of the 15 comparable routes declined, six increased, and one was unchanged. Declines were generally of a greater magnitude than the increases. All but one of the nine routes in the southcentral survey region were successfully run this spring and, of those, all were run by the 2001 observer. This yielded an overall PCS index of 5.7. The PCS index for the eight comparable routes was down 31 percent compared to last spring.

Six of the southcentral routes declined, reflecting the particularly hot and dry conditions that hurt production in 2001. This change was not statistically significant, although significance was closel approached.

Both of the two routes in the Southeast were run, but no pheasant crowing was heard. These routes are run only in even-numbered years and are excluded from range totals.

"Overall, the state's pheasant breeding population showed no improvement compared to the low levels of 2001," says KDWP upland bird researcher Randy Rodgers. "Although improvements did occur in the north, the severe to extreme drought currently occurring will likely dictate further decline or, at best, no improvement in western Kansas in the immediate future. The better prospects for improvement this year appear to be in the northcentral and northeast regions."
 


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