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story.lead_photo.caption A good side-byside shotgun is ideal for pheasant hunting on the Great Plains. ( Bryan Hendricks)

Oklahoma's ring-necked pheasant hunting season is underway and runs through Jan. 31.

Hunters planning to pursue pheasants will likely have more luck by traveling farther into the northern reaches of Oklahoma this year.

Tell Judkins, upland game biologist with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said even though brood survey results were down from last year, the state's wildlife management areas and Oklahoma Land Access Program areas should hold a decent number of birds.

"Much like quail, pheasant populations are down this season," Judkins said, "but they can still be found in moderate to fair numbers."

Properties where habitat is good for pheasants -- insects were plentiful, forbs are abundant and drought has not made a severe impact -- should still hold a fair number of birds, he said.

The Wildlife Department conducts two pheasant surveys annually -- a count of the number of crowing male birds heard per mile along 20-mile routes during April and May and a count of the number of broods seen per mile along 20-mile routes during late August.

This year, the crowing survey numbers were higher than last year, but the brood survey declined sharply. To read this year's Pheasant Season Outlook report, go to www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/species/pheasant.

The daily bag limit is two male pheasants only. Residents and nonresidents are required to have an appropriate hunting license, and hunters must wear daylight fluorescent orange clothing when required. Open areas include Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Kay, Major, Noble, Osage, Texas, Woods and Woodward counties and the portions of Blaine, Dewey, Ellis, Kingfisher and Logan counties north of Oklahoma 51.

Print Headline: Oklahoma pheasant hunting best in northern counties

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