ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Wildlife managers say late-season snowstorms and heavy spring rains have taken a toll on Minnesota's pheasant population.
The Department of Natural Resources' annual roadside survey indicates that Minnesota's pheasant numbers are down 17% from 2018. The index is 11% below the 10-year average and 60% below the long-term average.
DNR upland game research scientist Tim Lyons says there's still reason for hunters to be optimistic. He says birds are still abundant in some areas, but hunters may need to be choosier about where they go. The survey indicates that pheasant numbers grew in south-central and east-central Minnesota, and the highest numbers are in west-central and south-central Minnesota.
Weather and habitat are the main drivers of Minnesota's pheasant population trends.
Minnesota's pheasant season runs from Oct. 12 to Jan. 1.