DNR Fish and Wildlife Almanac

October 5, 2020

Pheasant hunting opens this weekend

The Minnesota pheasant hunting season opens at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ annual roadside pheasant survey showed a 42 percent increase in the state pheasant index this year relative to 2019. The 2020 roadside survey is 37 percent above the 10-year average.

Hunters should check regulations before they head out into the field. Hunters ages 16-64 must purchase a small game license and pheasant stamp to hunt pheasants in Minnesota, and all pheasant hunters must wear at least one visible article of clothing above the waist that is blaze orange or pink. Bag and possession limits, pheasant transportation requirements, a hunting prospects map and more information are available on the DNR website.

Small game harvest numbers up in 2019 despite fewer licenses being sold

The small game hunter mail survey by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources estimated that slightly fewer small game licenses were sold in 2019 than the previous year, continuing a downward trend in overall license sales for the past 20 years.

Despite fewer ruffed grouse and ring-necked pheasant hunters, hunters harvested more grouse and pheasants in 2019 and successful hunters put more birds in their bags. The survey also showed a 38 percent increase in duck hunters and a 72 percent increase in Canada goose hunters from 2018 to 2019, leading to a higher harvest estimate compared to 2018. The survey covers estimated harvest and number of hunters for two dozen species, and most showed increases compared to 2018. The complete small game hunter survey report is on the DNR website.

Learn more about wolves during International Wolf Center webinars

Anyone who wants to learn more about wolves in Minnesota is invited to join webinars hosted by the International Wolf Center this month. Each webinar is scheduled for 5-6 p.m. and registration is required. Webinars will cover:

  • Minnesota’s wolf population, with John Erb, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources research scientist, on Wednesday, Oct. 7;
  • Living with wolves and wolf depredation in Minnesota, with John Hart, district supervisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services program, on Monday, Oct. 19; and
  • The interrelationships between wolf, moose and deer in Minnesota, with Glenn DelGiudice, a DNR research scientist, on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

More information and registration for these and other webinars can be found on the International Wolf Center website.

Wolf plan virtual open houses continue this week

Registration is open for the remaining two virtual open houses that will offer opportunities for people to hear about wolves in Minnesota and share their thoughts as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources updates the state’s 20-year-old wolf management plan.

The open houses will include informational presentations from the DNR and allow real-time public input and Q&A. Each open house takes place from 6-8 p.m. and will focus on a particular geographic area.  Attendees must register for the open houses on the DNR website and are encouraged submit questions in advance on their registration form. The dates for the remaining open house are:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 6.—Central and southern region, including Twin Cities metro area -
  • Thursday, Oct. 8.—Northeast region

Members of the public will also be able to share their thoughts about wolf management by commenting on the wolf plan section of the DNR’s community engagement platform through Sunday, Nov. 1. Later in the process, the public will have an opportunity to comment on draft updates to the state’s wolf management plan. The DNR anticipates releasing the draft plan for comment later this year.