Pheasant Outlook Down, But Still Good


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced results of its August roadside counts for pheasants on Tuesday. Here’s the word, from the DNR news release:

"Despite a cool, wet spring that caused a 24-percent drop in Minnesota’s pheasant index, the estimated number of pheasants in Minnesota remains at its 10-year average.
The southwest likely will provide the best opportunities for pheasant hunters. Minnesota’s west-central, south-central and east-central regions also are likely to provide good pheasant harvest opportunities.”

"The annual August roadside count of wildlife showed a pheasant index of 81 birds per 100 miles driven. The index exceeded 100 birds in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The 2007 index of 106 birds resulted in a harvest of 655,000 roosters, the highest pheasant harvest since 1964."

Minnesota’s pheasant season begins Oct. 11 and runs through Jan. 4, 2009. With the Minnesota corn and soybean crop behind schedule this year, lots of birds are likely to be in standing corn early in the season. With those birds harder to find early in the season, that should make for better hunting in the mid- to late season.

Remember, the pheasant bag limit was changed in the Legislature this past spring. The daily bag limit is two roosters, with three roosters allowed from Dec. 1 to Jan. 4. The possession limit is six, with nine allowed from Dec. 1 to Jan. 4. Shooting hours are 9 a.m. to sunset.