The 2011 Minnesota pheasant opener is just days away. Here’s what you need to know:
- Before you fire a shot in the field this October, please fire an email off to your elected officials asking them to reauthorize the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever’s President and CEO, explains why.
- Pheasant numbers are down in Minnesota this year, and while the future of CRP is uncertain, thanks to new funding from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund, there are 4,585 acres of new Wildlife Management Area (WMA) land in the state’s pheasant range this year – land that’s permanently protected, and open to hunters. Pheasants Forever has led or assisted on a number of these projects, which you can follow here.
- While most Minnesota Pheasants Forever chapters hold their annual banquets in the spring, a few hold them in the fall. If you’ll be hunting in the Glenwood area, you may consider attending the Glacial Lakes Pheasants Forever chapter banquet on the eve of the pheasant opener.
- Who’s hunting the Marshall area in southwest Minnesota? When you’re ready for lunch or your post-hunt meal, consider visiting the Varsity Pub and Extra Innings. The Lyon County Pheasants Forever chapter has teamed up with the establishment to raise funds for the chapter’s wildlife habitat work and youth conservation education programs. Print out this coupon and bring it with you.
- If you’ll be hunting federal Waterfowl Production Areas (non-toxic shot required) or have made the personal choice to shoot steel for upland birds, take note. New for 2011, Federal Premium Ammunition brings pheasant hunters a new option with Prairie Storm™ FS Steel®. Prairie Storm FS Steel loads can be found on store shelves now, and Federal will donate a portion of the proceeds from each Pheasants Forever-logoed box of Prairie Storm Steel sold to the upland conservation organization.
- In addition to the first-ever Governor’s Pheasant Opener, which will be in Montevideo, special pheasant hunting celebration events also include the festivities Friday and Saturday in Madelia, the "Pheasant Capital of Minnesota."
- Hopefully you’re aware of Minnesota’s new Walk-In Access program, but did you know that upland game hunting opportunities have increased at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge that’s scattered in southwest Minnesota and Iowa? Check with the respective refuges for details.
- If you meet a clean-shaven man and a mustachioed dog on the road in southern Minnesota, it could be Chad Bloom, Pheasants Forever’s new regional representative for the region, and his German Wirehair. Chad previously volunteered as president for the Stearns County Pheasants Forever chapter.
Anthony Hauck is Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email him at Ahauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauck.