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Like everywhere else in the country; Minnesota has a declining pheasant population. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has stated that while local populations have increased slightly this year; they were still 58% below the 10 year average and 71% below the long term average.

The loss of Minnesota’s habitat is one of the main reasons for the population decline. The state once had over 18 million acres of prairie. Today, there is only about 1% of that habitat remaining.

This has prompted the state to hold its first Pheasant Summit that was held December 13, 2014. Those that attended the summit at the Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall suggest ways to reverse the pheasant population decline.

With  300 people in attendance they strategized how to improve population counts.

"For almost 60 years, I have enjoyed pheasant hunting in Minnesota," Governor Mark Dayton said in a statement. "But the decisions we make today will determine whether future generations of Minnesotans will have those same opportunities."

Mike Tenney, the DNR’s prairie habitat team leader, hopes that the result of the summit and the four year plan to improve and stabilize pheasant populations. These ideas will then be discussed at the DNR’s annual roundtable. Tenney also hopes that they can discuss options with farm groups during this winter.

Tenney does admit that the summit is not going to offer a simple, quick fix. However, if groups can agree on some good initiatives and actions, he will consider it a productive meeting.

A survey, conducted by the DNR, found the loss of nesting and winter habitats was one of the main concerns of hunters. There was also a major concern for the access to hunting land – most land in Minnesota pheasant country is privately owned.

What would your suggestions be for improving pheasant populations? Would you attend a pheasant summit?

Let us know in the comments below.

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