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Despite news from the Missouri Department of Conservation that restrictions on pheasant hunting areas will be lifted this season, the pheasant population has not grown. Many pheasant hunters and commentators have made the connection after the news but the MDC recently wanted to put the record straight.

Beth Emmerich, Research Scientist at the department, has provided the reasons why the pheasant season will now be statewide, “Having a statewide season on pheasants will eliminate some of the confusion regarding pheasant hunting.”

This won’t be the first time that the popular game bird will be hunted across the state. This was an option several years ago. The problem for hunters is that the bird’s main population is in the northern third of the state.

Previous statewide hunting was made legal due to the state’s efforts to populate the bird. However, many of the birds did not survive and restrictions had to be put in place.

Pheasants need to be in areas where they have significant stores of food like small grains and cover from hunters, predators and the weather. In recent years, the lack of this natural habitat has been the main reason that pheasant populations have dropped across the United States.

Emmerich further explained that by expanding the pheasant hunting areas, they are simplifying harvest regulations and limiting the impact hunting has on the overall population of pheasants in the state.

Most other states have similar habitat problems, yet they also run statewide hunting seasons. If this change in regulations is successful it should safeguard the state’s population from over hunting and protect the sport in the long term. South Dakota, who generates $200 million a year from pheasant hunting, has demonstrated exactly what the sport can financially achieve.

The Missouri statewide pheasant season will be open with a Youth Hunt on October 24-25 and then the regular season from November 1 before closing on January 15, 2016. There will be a daily limit of two male birds and possession will be restricted to four male birds.

Do you think the statewide hunting will help pheasant populations? Have you been hunting in Missouri?

Let us know in the comments below.

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