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Field Report: Minnesota Pheasant Broods Appearing

A Minnesota pheasant brood. Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

Last year at this time, following a horrible winter, miserable spring and too many acres of grass-turned-grain, those in my pheasant hunting circle were wondering “Where are the pheasant broods?” There just weren’t many youngins; the result in the western part of Minnesota (where I do most of my pheasant hunting and outdoor recreating) was an 80-plus percent decline in pheasant numbers.

Personally, I did not spot a pheasant brood last year in Minnesota. This past Saturday though, I came upon two on a short scouting drive and one on a walk later in the day. Corroborating reports from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials, all broods were “fliers,” meaning they were already 4 to 6-weeks-old. The DNR’s report added that workers spraying weeds on state wildlife areas reported seeing good numbers of pheasant broods.

Minnesota’s Lyon County Pheasants Forever chapter, from southwestern Minnesota, also posted this report on its Facebook page late last week:

Well folks, we’ve got our first road report of the year in from Dave Hengel, an area Schwan’s Home Service driver. Covering hundreds of miles each week on backcountry roads and gravel, he’s got an eye for what’s happening with pheasants, here’s his report:

“It’s looking pretty good, I’ve seen a few little ones running across the road. I stopped over at the Lyon County fertilizer plant and the sprayers told me they are seeing little ones a lot. So, yeah, it’s looking pretty good.”

It’s still a ways until Minnesota conducts its annual August roadside survey, the state’s official pheasant count, and further still until the pheasant hunting opener – things can change. Most importantly, the state will suffer a net loss of about 180,000 Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres this year – a massive chunk of wildlife-producing habitat. So life isn’t all rosy for pheasants and pheasant hunters…

…But an upland world devoid of optimism, even tepid optimism, wouldn’t be one that keeps hunters hunting and conservationists conserving. So a few pheasant broods are showing up? It’s a big deal to us.

Post your own field report – any state – in the comments section below.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

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2 Responses to “Field Report: Minnesota Pheasant Broods Appearing”

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  1. Tim says:

    I own 200 acres of mostly CRP near Springfield, MN and 2-3 weeks ago i was on the property and saw many young birds already flying. Last winter from the deer stand not the property I saw over 25 tends and nearly 15 roosters eating from the food plots. I hope this spring and fall are a lot better than the last 2 years for seeing and hunting the big bird.

    Stay tuned.

    Tim

  2. @Tim – thanks for sharing your field report, let’s hope the positive trends continue. – Anthony Hauck, Online Editor, Pheasants Forever

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