Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Pheasant reports suggest good start

New Ulm, Minn. Reports from opening weekend of the 2000 pheasant
season revealed two common factors: high hunter participation and
success dependent upon what portion of the pheasant range one
hunted.

As predicted prior to the opener, the west and southwest
portions of the pheasant range provided ample shooting
opportunities.

According to Kevin Lines, DNR farmland wildlife program leader,
pheasant hunters harvested birds where he expected they would.

“Overall, I’d have to say it was a pretty good opener,” Lines
said. “The better reports have come from the west and southwest
just as we expected.”

Conservation officers working in the Redwood Falls, New Ulm,
Marshall, and Windom areas found limits of pheasants fairly common
in many groups.

Conservation Officer Jon Thoreson of Redwood Falls reported that
most hunters he encountered seemed satisfied with the number of
pheasants they saw over the weekend.

“I saw quite a few groups on Saturday that were close to their
daily limit,” he said. “Most hunters I talked with thought it was a
pretty acceptable opening weekend.”

With crop harvest progressing ahead of schedule and a rebound in
the pheasant population, bird hunters in the west and southwest
regions of the pheasant range should encounter one of the best
seasons in recent memory.

DNR Regional Wildlife Manager Ken Varland, of New Ulm, said that
even though opening weekend went well, harvest opportunities should
only get better as the season continues.

“There may have been more crops left than we anticipated, but it
was still a satisfactory opener,” Varland said. “Everyone I talked
with saw more birds this year than last.”

Varland said areas such as Willmar, Glenwood, and Benson should
offer better shooting opportunities as the season progresses.
Though pheasant numbers appear higher in these locations, the
standing corn has hindered success in the early stages of the
season.

Larry Jensen, of Minnewaska Bait and Tackle in Starbuck, knows
the pheasant population is up in his area and that pheasant hunters
expect a better season this year.

Near Sauk Centre, hunters expect a similar situation. The
pheasant population seems higher, but there’s a lot of corn where
they can hide.

“Personally, I’ve seen more birds leading up to the season than
I have in the past three years,” said Denny Fletcher of Fletcher’s
Bait. “In another week, when the corn goes, it should be very
good.”

Wherever you spent opening weekend, hunter participation was
high. Conservation officers reported more hunters this opening
weekend than they’ve seen in several years, and private and public
hunting areas were covered with people in search of the elusive
ringneck.

Even though not all of them found success, Varland was happy to
hear about the number of people in the field.

“There definitely seems to be a renewed interest in pheasant
hunting,” Varland said. “This is the most people we’ve seen on
opening day in several years.”

The 2000 pheasant season remains open through Dec. 17.

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