September 14, 2020

Pheasant Season Outlook Looking Good Throughout Parts of the Midwest

Contacts: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager, and Kent Keene, Lower Midwestern States Coordinator

Upland bird hunters in parts of the Midwest are looking forward to what is predicted to be a great pheasant hunting season in 2020. Recent population survey data released in Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota suggest that pheasant populations are on the rise throughout much of the region. Though many of the usual annual bird population surveys performed by state fish and wildlife management agencies were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, these reports represent good news for hunters.

Thanks to a combination of a mild winter that tends to increase hen survival and a cool, dryer than normal spring that can improve in nesting success, biologists expect increased summer counts to translate to more pheasants in the fall. Compared to last year’s wet spring nesting season, this is great news for one of the most sought-after upland species in the country. With these weather conditions remaining relatively consistent throughout much of the Midwest, hunters should remain optimistic about their chances for a successful hunt heading into the 2020 season.

Upland bird hunting is a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family while participating in an activity that inherently incorporates social distancing. Midwestern hunters are encouraged to take advantage of the many great opportunities to practice #ResponsibleRecreation while introducing a new hunter to the field. As opening day of pheasant season draws closer, hunters are encouraged to contact their desired state’s fish and wildlife management agency for specific details on the areas in which they plan to hunt. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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