The Minnesota pheasant hunting season opens Oct. 15 and hunters in Southwest Minnesota might have a harder time than those in other parts of the state.
Local DNR Wildlife Manager Brian Nyborg said that August roadside count prospect map shows the north and east parts of Cottonwood County listed as “fair,” meaning 25 to 49 birds per square mile. The west and south parts of the county are listed as “poor,” meaning 10 to 24 birds per square mile. And much of Jackson County is listed as “very poor,” meaning fewer than 10 birds per square mile.
However, much of the Minnesota River Valley, including Brown and most of Watonwan counties, is listed as “good,” meaning 50 or more birds per square mile.
“When we did the August counts, we were seeing a lot of small birds in Cottonwood County,” Nyborg said. “Spring was about two weeks later than in a typical year, so there might have been a later hatch than usual.”
Nyborg added that hunters looking for pheasants in Cottonwood County shouldn’t be discouraged.
“We’re confident the birds are out there,” Nyborg said. “Last year, the prospect map looked similar, and I’d say during the season, most of the county would have been considered fair to good, instead of poor to fair.”
More looking ahead to the pheasant hunting opener will appear in the Oct. 12 print and e-editions of the Citizen.