Sports / ArcaMax

Pheasant hunter, harvest numbers reach 27-year lows in Minnesota

Minnesota's pheasants and pheasant hunters are hitting rock-bottom. Just 62,000 pheasant hunters went afield last fall, and they bagged only 169,000 roosters. That's the fewest hunters and lowest harvest in 27 years. Hunter numbers declined 19 percent and the harvest was down 32 percent from 2012. Hunters likely were responding to a huge loss of habitat, poor nesting weather and a corresponding large drop in the ringneck population in recent years. Last year, the pheasant population dropped 29 percent, and the state has recently lost more than 100 square miles of grassland habitat in the pheasant range. "It's likely the result of people seeing poor reports...and they just don't bother ...

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