Almanac: Wildlife officials optimistic pheasants will rebound

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 23, 2012 - 9:14 PM

Lac Qui Parle County pheasant hunt

Photo: Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

After being battered to record-low numbers by a brutal winter in 2010 and a cold wet spring in 2011, Minnesota's pheasants needed help in 2012.

A mild, almost nonexistent winter in the southwest -- the state's prime pheasant range -- gave pheasant hunters hope. But ringnecks also need dry, warm springs for optimum reproduction, and this spring has been wet, right?

Yes, from the vantage point of the Twin Cities, where rainfall is 8 inches above average. But western and southwestern Minnesota has been much drier. Rainfall this month is below average in much of the southwest.

Making wildlife officials cautiously optimistic that the pheasant population will rebound.

"We're seeing broods -- some are four to six weeks old and can fly, and others are smaller,'' said Wendy Krueger, Department of Natural Resources area wildlife manager at Slayton. "We're having a better [reproductive] season than last year.''

Kurt Haroldson, assistant regional wildlife manager at New Ulm, and former state pheasant biologist, said he, too, is optimistic.

"For pheasant chicks, its prolonged cold wet weather that causes problems, and we haven't had much of that,'' he said. "It's been warm.'' Recent heavy rains may have killed some newborn chicks, Haroldson said, but DNR workers spraying weeds on wildlife areas have reported seeing good numbers of pheasant broods.

"We could produce a bunch of birds,'' he said.

Haroldson said he doubts the pheasant population can rebound in one year from the 64 percent drop it experienced last year. But officials will have a better idea on nesting success come August, when the DNR conducts its roadside wildlife survey.

Meanwhile, the spring rains mean wetlands conditions are very good for waterfowl.

Did you know?

• Six whitetail deer escaped from a game farm near Pierz, and were destroyed by the owner; samples will be tested for chronic wasting disease.

• Conservation officer Darin Fagerman of Grand Marais spotted a man in a canoe taking pictures of some turkey vultures. He said the "golden eagles" sure were beautiful. Fagerman elected not to spoil the moment and correct the man.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.


Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 5 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy 2
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 2
Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister 3 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 2
Washington - WP: D. Storen 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 3
Seattle - LP: F. Rodney 2 FINAL
Texas - WP: P. Figueroa 3
Boston - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: L. Garcia 4
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: J. Williams 4
Toronto 0 Postponed
Minnesota 0
Oakland - LP: D. Pomeranz 4 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Smith 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 4
Los Angeles - LP: J. Howell 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 2
Chicago 86 FINAL
Charlotte 91
Indiana 101 FINAL
Orlando 86
Atlanta 111 FINAL
Milwaukee 103
Dallas 105 FINAL
Memphis 106
Detroit 111 FINAL
Oklahoma City 112
Houston 100 FINAL
New Orleans 105
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
San Antonio 100
Brooklyn 85 FINAL
Cleveland 114
Philadelphia 100 FINAL
Miami 87
Utah 136 FINAL
Minnesota 130
Washington 118 FINAL
Boston 102
Toronto 92 FINAL
New York 95
Golden State 116 FINAL
Denver 112
LA Clippers 104 FINAL
Portland 110
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Montreal 5 FINAL(OT)
Tampa Bay 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 4
Dallas 3 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question