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Neighboring State Pheasant Outlooks

Here's conservation group Pheasants Forever's look at fall pheasant-hunting prospects for states bordering North Dakota: Minnesota Minnesota hunters last season shot 655,000 roosters -- the highest-recorded total since 1964, according to the Depa...

Here's conservation group Pheasants Forever's look at fall pheasant-hunting prospects for states bordering North Dakota:

Minnesota

Minnesota hunters last season shot 655,000 roosters -- the highest-recorded total since 1964, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Despite a cool, wet spring that caused a 24-percent drop in Minnesota's pheasant index, population estimates remain at the 10-year average. The annual August roadside count of wildlife showed a pheasant index of 81 birds per 100 miles driven. The index exceeded 100 birds in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Southwestern Minnesota again will provide the best opportunities for pheasant hunters.

Quality habitat has played a critical role in the pheasant resurgence across Minnesota's farm country, and hunters four out of the past five years have shot more than a half-million birds, including the last three consecutive seasons. Minnesota has lost only 80,000 acres of Conservation Reserve Program land, compared with 800,000 in the Dakotas.

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n Season opener: Saturday.

n Limit: Two daily, six possession.

n Of note: Pheasant Stamp required

South Dakota

Last year, approximately 78,000 residents and 103,000 nonresident hunters shot more than 2.1 million pheasants. Hunters again should experience a very memorable fall season. Another mild winter and timely spring precipitation set the stage for widespread habitat conditions that were ideal for nesting, most notably in the central portion of the state where pheasant production was phenomenal. Results from the 2008 pheasant brood survey indicate the statewide Pheasants Per Mile index increased by 9 percent, from 7.85 in 2007 to 8.56 this year -- a 45-year-high.

On the downside, contracts for 300,000 CRP acres expired in 2007 -- equivalent to a one mile-wide strip of nesting habitat positioned from Sioux Falls to the Black Hills -- and hundreds of thousands of additional acres are set to expire.

n Season opener: Multiple dates, for specifics go to www.sdgfp.info .

n Limits: Three daily, 15 possession.

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Montana

Hunters in Montana shot 151,000 pheasants last year, which is 23 percent above the 20-year average. The northern, far eastern and southern counties look comparable, favorable or improved from last year. The remainder of the state's pheasant areas will be mixed because of considerable rains and cool weather that tracked across the core and western parts of the state during the first three weeks of June, culminating in cold rains and snow in the higher elevations in early June. These areas likely will have lower production and late broods.

n Season opener: Saturday.

n Limits: Three daily, nine in possession.

-- Pheasants Forever

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