Gov. Mark Dayton is planning to convene a "Minnesota Pheasant Summit," where he'll bring in hunters, farmers and conservationists to talk about how the state's pheasant population could be enhanced.
Dayton revealed his plans Thursday night at a Pheasants Forever banquet in St. Paul. The DFL governor is a lifelong pheasant hunter, and in 2011 he established the first-ever Governor's Pheasant Opener. He held successive pheasant openers in 2012 and 2013, and is holding another in Worthington on Oct. 10-11.
Dayton's office said Friday the pheasant summit would be held after this fall's pheasant season ends, likely in late November or early December. By that time, Dayton will have either won re-election or lost to Republican Jeff Johnson.
According to the Minnesota DNR, the state's pheasant population, while up slightly from last year, is considerably below both the 10-year average and the long-term average. Dayton's spokesman, Matt Swenson, noted that South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard recently received a set of recommendations from a working group he charged with improving that state's pheasant habitats.
Dayton said his goal is making decisions now aimed at preserving access to pheasant-hunting opportunities for future generations.