Pheasant Survey Shows Decrease in Population

By: News Intern Katherine Jones

ST. PAUL- The Minnesota pheasant season opens on October 12, and hunters are likely to find some areas are more populated than others.   

The roadside pheasant survey showed a 17 percent decrease in the overall pheasant index this year from 2018. The 2019 index was 11 percent below the 10-year average, and 60 percent below the long-term average. This year’s statewide pheasant index was 37.4 birds per 100 miles of roads driven.

“Though some regional and statewide pheasant indices declined, there is still reason to be optimistic,” said Tim Lyons, upland game research scientist. “Birds are still abundant in some areas. But after a prolonged winter and wet spring, hunters may need to be choosier about where they go.”

Uplands that escaped spring snowstorms and flooding, and contain native grasses and wildflowers provided the best opportunities for hens to nest and raise young, and these areas typically provide the best hunting opportunities as well. 

Hunters can use the DNR’s online mapping tools to find wildlife management areas to help locate state hunting grounds.

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