Latest Minnesota license plate puts pheasants at the forefront

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2013 - 5:27 PM

Critical Habitat Program’s latest push involves a popular bird and a successful artist.


New plate: Featuring the work of Plymouth wildlife artist Joe Hautman.

An image of a flying rooster pheasant will be featured on a new Minnesota critical habitat license plate that goes on sale next month.

Officials hope the image, by famed wildlife artist Joe Hautman of Plymouth, will entice some of the state’s 80,000 pheasant hunters to buy the plate, which costs an extra $30 a year — money that goes to the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Critical Habitat Program. Habitat bought and improved with those dollars includes grasslands, key for pheasants.

The pheasant season opened Saturday, and Gov. Mark Dayton and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr unveiled the new plate at the Governor’s Pheasant Opener banquet Friday night in Madelia, held in a huge tent.

“That’s a terrific-looking license plate,’’ Dayton said, standing in front of an enlarged image of the first new critical habitat plate since 2009. A crowd of 500 people, many of them pheasant hunters, applauded enthusiastically.

“It’s great to see a pheasant on a license plate,’’ said Matt Holland, senior field coordinator for Pheasants Forever, the national conservation group based in Minnesota. He said the group will promote sales, and he expects pheasant hunters to be big buyers.

“It’s an iconic image,’’ said C.B. Bylander, DNR outreach chief. “I think it will resonate with our pheasant hunters.’’

The new pheasant plate is an adaptation of Hautman’s 2007 Minnesota pheasant stamp. The agency paid him a one-time fee of $1,000 to use the image, Bylander said.

Officials had hoped to have the plate ready by Saturday’s pheasant opener, but it won’t be available at license outlets until around Nov. 1.

The pheasant plate is the seventh critical habitat plate now available to motorists. The others feature a loon, chickadee, showy lady slipper (the state flower), white-tailed buck, anglers in a boat and the silhouette of a pair of white-tailed deer — the original critical habitat plate.

The plates have raised $44 million for habitat conservation since the program began. The DNR has acquired or conserved more than 7,700 acres.

About 104,000 of the specialty plates are on the road today. The loon plate remains the most popular, with sales this year of about 22,500. Second in sales is the fishing scene (20,400), followed by the lady slipper (18,100), the buck (16,700), the chickadee (15,800) and the original deer plate (10,800). That was the initial plate that launched the program in 1995. It no longer is being made but is being sold at license offices until supplies run out.

“Some people keep it because it was the first one,’’ said Lori Naumann of the Department of Natural Resources nongame wildlife program.

She, too, expects the pheasant plate to be popular.

“I think they will be a good seller because the color is beautiful,” she said. “People tend to buy the plates because of the colors and how it looks on their car. It’s not necessarily about the habitat.’’

Sales of the plates ebb and flow, depending on the economy and other factors. “Auto sales have a big influence on plate sales,’’ Naumann said. When car sales are up, so, too, are plate sales.

The program began in 1995. The loon plate was added in 2004, and the lady-slipper, chickadee, anglers and buck were added in 2009. Some have suggested the DNR add more plates, but officials have decided to offer no more than one new design per year.

The critical habitat plate requires a contribution of at least $30 per year more than a standard plate. There is also a one-time fee of $10 the first year for plate transfer costs. The contributions are matched with private donations of land or cash.

Next year: Worthington

Dayton announced that Worthington will be the site of next year’s Governor’s Pheasant Opener.


Doug Smith •

  • 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.


Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
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