The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports that pheasant numbers in the state are up 29 percent over last year, thanks in part to a mild winter in 2015-16.

The DNR states that "good nesting conditions and a slight increase in grassland habitat" contributed to an increase in the roadside pheasant index for 2016 over one year ago. The number is still nearly 15 percent below the 10-year average, however.

Minnesota's pheasant season begins on Saturday, October 15, and ends on Sunday, January 1. The daily bag limit is two roosters through November, then increases to three on December 1, 2016. Hunting hours are 9AM to sunset each day.

DNR research scientist Nicole Davros said in a news release on their website, "Over the past two years we have had weather that benefited pheasant numbers, but in the long term we're still looking at a downward trend in habitat and that drives the population trends."

Youth Waterfowl Day

Saturday, September 10, is Youth Waterfowl Day in Minnesota. Hunters 15 or younger can take regular bag limits ducks and five Canada geese when accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 or older. Those age 13-15 must have their firearms safety certificate in their possession while hunting.

Mentoring program coordinator Mike Kurre says in a news release, "Youth get all the attention during this hunt and we hope that leads to positive experiences and new interest in waterfowl hunting."