The Minnesota DNR says its 2018 roadside survey for pheasants showed a 19-percent increase in the overall pheasant index from 2017, except for the south-central region which saw a decrease by 36-percent from last year.

The driving factor for the pheasant population continues to be weather and habitat. Late-season snowstorms and heavy rain in the spring is said to be the reason for a lower pheasant population in south-central Minnesota. 

While the index is similar to the 10-year average, it is still 52-percent below the long-term average.

This year’s statewide pheasant index was 45.5 birds per 100 miles of roads driven. The highest pheasant counts were in the west-central, southwest and central regions where observers reported 48 to 65 birds per 100 miles driven.

The States 2018 pheasant season is open October 13 through January 1.