10/12/2012 8:16:00 AM Pheasant hunt opens Saturday
The Minnesota pheasant hunting season opens Saturday at sunrise. The season runs through Jan. 1.
Hunters are allowed to shoot two rooster pheasants daily with a possession limit of four. All hunters must have valid small game license and must wear at least one visible article of blaze orange above the waist.
In addition, hunters should be aware if there are any restrictions on shot type, depending on if they hunt on state or federal land.
According to the Minnesota DNR, pheasant numbers in southwest Minnesota appear to be better than last year, but are still not near the levels seen a few years ago. A harsh winter of 2010-11 followed by a wet spring severely hampered the pheasant population. Last winter was mild and spring saw vastly improved nesting conditions, but the population is still trying to recover from the previous two winters.
According to the DNR's roadside count prospect maps, the higher populations of pheasants will be seen in areas both to the north and to the northwest. Much of Brown County had "good" numbers according to the August roadside counts, while areas of Lyon, Lincoln and Pipestone counties were deemed as "fair." Much of Cottonwood and Jackson counties were considered "poor" or "very poor" based on the August counts.
However, DNR Wildlife Manager Randy Markl feels that the populations may not be quite as bad as the roadside counts would indicate. He added that with the harvest completed in much of Southwest Minnesota, pheasants will likely be more concentrated into grassy areas or areas around marshes, since there is little to no standing corn left for the birds to hide in.