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When it comes to forecasting pheasants numbers and hunting harvests on of the biggest factors is weather. In northern states 10-20 percent of the birds that survive the hunting season don't last through the winter. According to some experts typical mortality rates of pheasants from August through the following sprint are close to 50 percent. The good news is pheasants can sustain these types of losses because they are able to reproduce at incredible rates. In good years a pheasant hen can hatch from seven to 10 chicks for every adult pheasant. Close to 80 percent of the pheasants harvested each year by hunters are only a few months old. Weather durring pheasant reproduction and durring the winter as well as good habitat are the keys to good hunting prospects.

2012 Pheasant Season Outlook

The year dating back to Fall 2011 has been one of the most unique on record for states in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Dating back to the fall season we saw mild temperatures that continued throughout the winter season where temperatures were some of the warmest on record especially in the Midwest. 

The snowfall was also on the light side compared to other years in recent history. Many areas across the US saw less snowfall than the previous winter, which was one of the most dreary in terms of snowfall. Predictions were pointing to one heavy snowfall throughout winter in what was supposed to be one of the wettest on record. Things didn’t work out that way and it was to the benefit of the pheasant population.

These factors throughout the fall and winter lined things up for a great pheasant hunting season in 2012. Everything has been point toward a good bird hatch in the spring, which seems to have taken place. If you have been out you may have already noticed the good signs of a mild and dry winter.

However, the summer has brought one of the biggest droughts in history.

Much of the grass and underbrush have been thirst for water this summer. It’s making it difficult on the hatchlings and pheasants since the grasses are their main source of hiding. As the drought continues throughout the US the difficulties will continue for the pheasant population across most of the country.

Drought conditions will persist throughout the remaining summer weeks and into the fall. While this will take a toll on the grasses and brush in some areas there will still be much to look forward to this season.

Information On Previous Outlooks:

SD Pheasant Numbers Looking Good
 South Dakota Brood Survey Indicates Another Good Year for Pheasants. – The S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Department counted an average of 6.32 pheasants per mile in 2009 as part of its annual pheasant brood survey, the fourth highest statewide count in the past 45 years.

2009 Minnesot Pheasant Roadside Survey
Minnesota pheasant hunters, who in recent years have experienced some of the best hunting since the mid-1950s and early 1960s, are expected to harvest fewer birds this autumn.

Iowa 2007 Pheasant Numbers Steady from 2006
It is not exactly the combination pheasant hunters and wildlife experts would draw up for good pheasant survival - a blizzard in March, an ice storm and flooding during the early spring nesting season. Iowa pheasants endured a rough year, but with that said, Iowa will maintain its position as a top pheasant hunting state in the country.

2007 South Dakota Pheasant Hunting Outlook

2006-2007 Outlooks

2006 Quail Season Outlook 

2006 Pheasant Season Outlook

2006 Iowa Auguast Road Side Survey

2006 South Dakota Pheasant Hunting Outlook (PDF)

2006 Minnesot Pheasant Roadside Survey (PDF)

2005-2006 Pheasant Season Outlooks

2005 South Dakota Brood Survey Shows High Numbers
2005 Minnesota  Long Range Plan for Ring Necked Pheasants (PDF)
Kansas 2005 Pheasant & Upland Hunting Outlook

2003 Pheasant Season Outlooks

2003 Pheasant Roadside Survey (PDF)