Minnesota Pheasant Opener Comes With Heat, Wind

Dick Adams of Superior hunts behind Heidi, his black Lab, in Lac qui Parle County during the Minnesota pheasant opener on Saturday. (Sam Cook photo)
Dick Adams of Superior hunts behind Heidi, his black Lab, in Lac qui Parle County during the Minnesota pheasant opener on Saturday. (Sam Cook photo)

Minnesota’s 2015 pheasant opener came Saturday with warm temperatures and high winds across much of the state’s pheasant range. Hunting in Lac qui Parle County near the South Dakota border, our group saw temperatures up to 86 on Saturday and 93 on Sunday. Monday brought relief in temperature — low 60s — but also brought winds of 35 to 40 mph.

We found some birds Saturday and Sunday but our group of three could scratch out only one rooster in Monday’s winds.

It’s too early to get a good feel for pheasant numbers, which, according to Department of Natural Resources roadside counts, were up 33 percent (although well below long-term averages). A lot of corn remained in the field. Once the corn is harvested, and the pheasants move into grasslands, we’ll have a better idea of how the population is.

Here are a few more shots from opening weekend:

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Copper, a yellow Lab, retrieves a rooster pheasant on Saturday’s opener in Lac qui Parle County. (Sam Cook photo)
A group of hunters from Buffalo, Minn., took a mid-field break to water their dogs during Saturday's warm pheasant opener. The hunters were hunting on Walk-In Access land in Lac qui Parle County. Walk-in Access land is privately owned but open to public hunting with a $4 permit. (Sam Cook photo)
A group of hunters from Buffalo, Minn., took a mid-field break to water their dogs during Saturday’s warm pheasant opener. The hunters were hunting on Walk-In Access land in Lac qui Parle County. Walk-in Access land is privately owned but open to public hunting with a $4 permit. (Sam Cook photo)
Pheasant hunters move across a field of prairie grasses on a Walk-In Access parcel in Lac qui Parle County. (Sam Cook photo)
Pheasant hunters move across a field of prairie grasses on a Walk-In Access parcel in Lac qui Parle County. (Sam Cook photo)
The long tail-feathers of a rooster pheasant spell success for this hunter on Saturday's opening day of the Minnesota pheasant season. (Sam Cook)
The long tail-feathers of a rooster pheasant spell success for this hunter on Saturday’s opening day of the Minnesota pheasant season. (Sam Cook)
The conservation ethic of a pheasant hunter from Buffalo, Minn., is reflected in his Critical Habitat conservation license plate. The plates, which add $30 annually to license registration fees, raise money for Minnesota's (RIM) Critical Habitat Program. (Sam Cook photo)
The conservation ethic of a pheasant hunter from Buffalo, Minn., is reflected in his Critical Habitat conservation license plate. The plates, which add $30 annually to license registration fees, raise money for Minnesota’s (RIM) Critical Habitat Program. (Sam Cook photo)