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Survey: N Dakota pheasant numbers drop slightly

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Wildlife officials say North Dakota ring-neck pheasant numbers are down slightly due to harsh winter conditions. But lush nesting habitat this summer should bolster the birds' population by the fall hunting season.

State Game and Fish biologist Stan Kohn says officials heard about 11 percent less crows from ring-neck roosters during the annual crowing count survey.

The survey involves wildlife officials from across the state who drive 20-mile routes, stopping every two miles for two minutes to listen for a male pheasant crowing to attract hens.

Kohn says early signs point toward a strong pheasant population this fall due to near ideal nesting habitat this summer.