Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’

Minnesota is Talking Pheasants: Register Now for State’s First-Ever Pheasant Summit

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

MN_Pheasant Summit

How does Minnesota combat the expiration of approximately 300,000 Conservation Reserve Program acres in the coming years? How can the state and conservation groups like Pheasants Forever partner more effectively? Can improvements be made to existing conservation programs that improve grasslands and pheasant populations? Your ideas are wanted now in Minnesota.

Minnesota’s ring-necked pheasants are at a crossroads for conservation, and the state is taking action! On Saturday, Dec. 13, Pheasants Forever and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are presenting the first-ever Minnesota Pheasant Summit in Marshall, an event convened by Governor Mark Dayton. Join us! The event will bring hunters, farmers, policymakers, conservationists, and key members of the Governor’s Cabinet together to discuss strategies to increase the pheasant population, improve pheasant habitat, and ensure future generations can enjoy the thrill of flushing pheasants.

Register today—registration is free and includes lunch. The Summit begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 in Marshall, MN at the Southwest Minnesota State University (Conference Center-Upper Ballroom).

Busy that weekend?—sign-up for the Pheasant Summit’s email updates to receive notification when the online survey is available to send in your input.

The time has come to bring Minnesotans together to talk pheasants and upland habitat. Make sure you’re involved.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s online editor. Email Anthony at and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Minn.’s newly-Designed Pheasant Critical Habitat License Plate Now Available

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013


Purchasers of Minnesota’s new pheasant critical habitat license plate will support grassland habitat land acquisitions.

Minnesota’s newest critical habitat license plate features a ring-necked pheasant in grassland and is now available for purchase. Revenue generated from the sales of the new pheasant plates will be used to conserve upland habitat in the state.

The DNR chose the pheasant image from a previous pheasant-stamp winner submitted by Minnesota artist Joe Hautman who said he is honored to have the plate feature his artwork. The plate was graphically designed by DNR artist Collin Grant. Minnesota motorists can purchase the new, autumn-colored plate at any licensed registrar or department of motor vehicle office. It’s not necessary to wait until tabs are expired on the vehicle to purchase new plates and the tabs for the vehicle will expire at the same time.

“We are giving motorists more ways to show their conservation colors and individual identity,” said Tom Landwehr, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner. The first pheasant plates at the Pheasants Forever national office were purchased on Friday, November 1 by Bob St.Pierre, Vice President of Marketing for Pheasants Forever.

Motorists who purchase a critical habitat plate make a minimum annual contribution of $30 to the Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) Program. Every dollar generated through the sale of the license plate is matched with private donations of cash or land. The plates have generated more than $25 million toward the purchase of 7,700 acres of critical habitat and have helped fund nongame research and surveys, habitat enhancement and educational programs. Plate revenue will be used, in part, to support pheasant and other grassland species through Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan habitat acquisition, a plan which Pheasants Forever helped develop.

More information about how Minnesota’s critical habitat license plate sales fund conservation efforts is available online.

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.organd follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Minnesota’s Walk-In Access Adds 6,000 Acres

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Minnesota pheasant hunters now have 194 access sites in 28 counties made available to them by the state's Walk-In Access program. Photo courtesy the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Minnesota pheasant hunters now have 194 access sites in 28 counties available to them through the state’s Walk-In Access program. Photo courtesy the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Pheasant hunters heading to western and south-central Minnesota will have access to an additional 6,083 acres of land this fall as the state’s Walk-In Access program grows to more than 20,000 acres and the number of counties increases from 19 to 28.

Upland hunters who wish to hunt these areas must purchase a $3 Walk-In Access validation on their small game license to legally access land enrolled in the program. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources added the validation so it can learn how many hunters use Walk-In Access lands as well as where and how those lands are used.

More than 2,000 accessible acres have been added in Wilkin County on the northwestern edge of Minnesota’s pheasant range. Becker, Douglas and Otter Tail counties also have many new Walk-In Access sites.

Maps of all 194 Walk-In Access sites will be available for viewing at by mid-August, and the sites are accessible come Sept. 1. The state’s pheasant hunting season opens on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.organd follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Pheasant Hunting Etiquette: Who’s in the Right?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Here’s my pheasant hunting opening day series of events. I arrive at a Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) at 5:30 a.m. I duck hunted this area a few weeks back, had seen and heard quite a few pheasants there, and since it has water in this dry year, knew it would be holding birds.

I threw my blaze orange articles on the dash to signify that I was a pheasant hunter then headed out to the slough at 7 to hunt ducks for an hour. At 8, I made my way back to the truck to change attire and prep for the 9 a.m. pheasant opening bell. Connected to the east side of the WPA is a smaller Wildlife Management Area (WMA), and I fully assumed another group of hunters would be utilizing the opposite side of this publicly-accessible complex.

Other hunters showed up too close for comfort at the author’s initial public, opening morning pheasant hunting location. Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

As my truck came into view, I was shocked to find a truck parked literally just the next telephone pole down from my vehicle. One more pole down was another truck, and though you can’t see it in the picture, there are two vehicles parked by the grove of trees, which represents the approximate centerline of the entire tract. That’s four vehicles within a quarter mile of mine.

To be honest, I was pretty fumed. I come from the school of hunting where if someone’s “claimed” a spot, then you’d better have a Plan B, C and/or D prepared. There’s also the more important issue of maintaining a safe hunting environment, which is harder to do with an increased hunter/dog density.

Had I been with my seasoned pheasant hunting partners, I might have talked with these other hunters and tried to divvy up the field to ensure safe shooting for all. But with two rookie hunters – a pup and my significant other, Kailyn – accompanying me that morning, I decided to go to my own Plan B and get away from this crowd.

It’s important for all hunters to uphold the highest standards of ethics, particularly amongst ourselves.  The nature of public land is that it’s open to all, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all at once – I believe these fellow hunters violated one of the unwritten Pheasant Hunter’s Codes. Am I wrong?

Full disclosure, I didn’t let this get me down for too long and had a fantastic opening day. This also illustrates the importance of continuing to permanently protect wildlife habitat while creating hunting opportunities through the addition of new publicly accessible areas. In Minnesota, for instance, since 2009, Pheasants Forever has acquired more than 3,600 acres of land in the state’s pheasant range and turned them over to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for inclusion in the state’s WMA program. Pheasants Forever has also acquired more than 3,900 acres in that timeframe and donated them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as WPAs. This significant work has been aided by Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.  Pheasants Forever is also actively adding to the public land base in many other states.

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Do Unrecovered Roosters Count Against Daily Bag Limits?

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

I called our partners with the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources with the following question about pheasant hunting:


“When you knock down a bird, but are unable to retrieve it, does that unrecovered bird legally count against your daily bag limit?”


Pheasants gravitate to thick cover, so a good bird dog becomes invaluable to finding downed birds.

Over the years, I’ve heard countless hunters argue both sides of what they believe to be the law.  So, I called the sources to settle the debate.


According to both Minnesota and South Dakota’s law enforcement divisions, a downed bird does not count against your legal daily bag limit if you are unable to find the downed bird.  In other words, if you can’t put your hand on a bird then it’s impossible to legally possess that bird.  (My sample size is two – the states I pheasant hunt most – so if you’re unsure about the law in your state, please be sure to check your state’s regulations to ensure you’re abiding by the laws of your state’s pheasant season).


You do, however, have to put in reasonable effort searching for that downed bird.  If you simply knock it down, but never search for it, then it does become a legal issue of wanton waste.


The next question is one of personal ethics.  Even though it’s not the law, do you personally count unrecovered roosters against your daily bag limit?

A 2011 limit of Minnesota roosters to fill my daily bag limit thanks to the retrieving work of my shorthair, Trammell.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.


Field Report: Minnesota Pheasant Broods Appearing

Monday, June 25th, 2012

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 and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Pheasant Dewy Decimal System

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

If hunters thrive on knowledge, then the annual August roadside pheasant surveys that many states conduct helps them begin cataloging information for the upcoming hunting season.

Last Thursday, I tagged along – and was put to work – during a route for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Along with Molly Tranel, Wildlife Research/Habitat Evaluation Biologist Farmland Wildlife Populations & Research for the department, I charted sightings during a 25-mile route south and west of Madelia, Minnesota’s self-proclaimed “Pheasant Capital.”

Like South Dakota, Iowa and other states, data from this individual route will be compiled with hundreds of similar routes from across the state; complete results will be available after Labor Day. We’ll have a Pheasants Forever “Storm Report” video from the ride-a-along soon, but a few photos give an indication of how the route went.

Conducting the route is condition dependent on a dewy morning with sunny skies. Such mornings filter pheasants on to gravel roads to dry off and pick up grit.

Tranel gets out to glass a freshly-cut wheat field. In addition to pheasants, the survey is designed to count a few other game animals, including mourning doves, which were found in abundance at this particular spot.

The Minnesota DNR and other states discourage mowing before August 1st to protect pheasant nests and broods. They can control it along state managed areas such as this one found on the route, but along private areas this sight was virtually nonexistent.

The route contained some great habitat along a river valley, but the only brood spotted was seen along this cut ditch between two corn fields.

A sharp eye is needed to spot pheasants during the route. Along with one brood, we charted a hen and a rooster pheasant, five Hungarian partridge, hundreds of mourning doves, waterfowl and songbirds during the survey. Can you spot the pheasant?