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Even though their numbers aren’t anything compared to the South or North Dakota, Wisconsin Pheasant hunters have had an excellent season.

The secret behind their success this year has been the release of a record number of birds into 90 public hunting areas.

In 2012, the number of birds that the DNR released was 54,000. In 2013, the number was increase by nearly 50% to 75,000! The harvest of the game birds is often between 200,000 and 250,000 each year, with 2013 numbers looking to be even greater.

The wild and native populations of these birds have only be holding steady or showing a slight decline in the past few years. The main reason for this loss is the devastation of habitat from the CRP cutbacks and rural development.

However local groups in the area, for example Pheasants Forever, are helping to keep this bird going. Their stress on the importance of the right habitat for a sustainable population; in conjunction with the recent mild winters, have helped the populations of this bird.

The DNR has also been able to add in two more releases after the deer season which will increase the local numbers.

Hunting in the area closed December 31st – with a limit of two roosters per day. Once the cold weather started to set in, hunter numbers started to drop. However if you did look to take advantage of the higher than usual numbers, you most likely had the best luck in the tougher terrain where the late season birds most likely like hiding.

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