ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota hunters can expect a drop in pheasant numbers this fall.
The Department of Natural Resources says a harsh winter followed by a wet spring has led to a big decline in the state's pheasant counts.
Pheasant hunters are expected to harvest about 250,000 roosters this fall. That would be the lowest harvest since 1997.
Harvests have exceeded 500,000 roosters in five of the past eight years.
But the DNR says a second consecutive severe winter has resulted in hen counts 72 percent below the 10-year average. Another contributing factor is the cold, wet weather during the April-through-June nesting period. That resulted in brood counts 75 percent below the 10-year average.
The DNR also cites the loss of nearly 120,000 acres of grass habitat enrolled in farm programs since 2007.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.