DNR: ‘Booming’ pheasant rebound in Minnesota, particularly in SW region

(St. Paul, MN) – Pheasant hunters can expect to see more birds when the hunting season opens next month.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says drier conditions in spring has led to a “boom” in pheasant numbers compared to 2019.

The DNR says hunters in southwestern Minnesota can expect great opportunities to see birds in the region. There will also be very good hunting prospects in the west-central, central, and south-central regions, all of which reported more than 50 birds per 100 miles, according to the DNR.  Besides that, the DNR’s roadside pheasant survey showed an eyebrow-raising 146 percent increase over last year in southwestern Minnesota.  That’s 90.5 birds per 100 miles, the highest in the state.

There was also a 42 percent increase in the statewide pheasant index from 2019, and a 37 percent increase over the 10-year average.  This year’s statewide pheasant index was 53.5 birds per 100 miles of roads driven. All regions of the pheasant range reported an increase in pheasant counts.

“The weather this spring and summer was favorable for pheasants and enabled more hens to raise chicks, which drove the increase,” said Tim Lyons, DNR upland game research scientist. “We didn’t get hit by spring snowstorms or heavy rainfalls like in 2019 and that really is what let hens nest earlier and be successful.”

Pheasant hunting in Minnesota opens on Saturday, October 10.

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