GRAND FORKS — North Dakota upland game hunters last year shot similar numbers of pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse as they did in 2017 but bagged fewer Hungarian partridges, the Game and Fish Department said Monday, July 1.

The decline in partridge numbers during the summer 2018 brood survey was not as drastic, so last fall’s 30% harvest decline likely resulted from fewer pheasant hunters and fewer trips per hunter, said Jesse Kolar, upland game management supervisor for Game and Fish.

“Partridge are most commonly harvested incidentally while hunters are pursuing pheasant or grouse, so the rate of harvest does not always mirror numbers on the ground,” Kolar said.

More than 58,200 pheasant hunters shot 327,000 roosters (up 6%) in 2018, compared with 58,300 hunters and 309,400 roosters in 2017.

Counties with the highest percentage of pheasants taken by resident hunters last year were Williams, 6.7; McLean, 6.5; Richland, 6; Morton, 5.6; and Divide, 5.2.

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Top counties for nonresident hunters were Hettinger, 13.6 percent; Bowman, 10.4; Divide, 7.6; Dickey, 5.9; and Emmons, 4.8.

In 2018, nearly 13,100 grouse hunters shot 45,600 sharp-tailed grouse, down 4% and 3% respectively. In 2017, 13,600 hunters took 46,900 sharptails.

Counties with the highest percentage of sharptails taken by resident hunters in 2018 were Slope, 6.5; Walsh, 5.5; Mountrail, 5.4; Kidder, 5.3; and Benson, 4.6.

Top counties for nonresident hunters were Bowman, 11.3; Hettinger, 7.4; Divide, 7; Mountrail, 6.8; and Ward, 6.4.

Last year, 11,200 hunters (down 19%) shot 23,000 Hungarian partridge (down 30%). In 2017, nearly 13,800 hunters shot 32,800 Huns.

Counties with the highest percentage of Huns taken by resident hunters in 2018 were Williams, 15.1; Mountrail, 12.1; Logan, 7.3; Ward, 6.5; and Burke, 5.9.

Top counties for nonresident hunters were Divide, 10.3; McLean, 9.9; Mountrail, 9.3; Hettinger, 8.9; and Dunn, 8.2.