Aurora, Colo. --(Ammoland.com)- While the drought of 2012 will make its impact felt on pheasant populations in the central Great Plains (portions of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska), pheasant hunters in the Upper Midwest (the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota) can expect bird numbers to be much improved from last year.
Unfortunately, upland hunters will note a rapidly changing landscape in these states as habitat is converted to row crops.
With commodity prices at or near all-time highs, and federal crop insurance coverage buffering the risk of planting marginal lands, grasslands formerly enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and previously unbroken native prairie are being plowed up at an astounding rate.
It should give pheasant hunters pause, and more reason than ever to get involved in the work of upland conservation.
Many CRP lands and even some public lands were opened to emergency haying and grazing to help agricultural producers through the drought of 2012. Thus, hunters are urged to check ahead due to the effects of this dry season and land use changes. There’s some good hunting out there, it’s just going to take a little more work to find it.
Pheasants Forever, the nation’s largest and most efficient upland conservation organization, is comprised of 130,000 members, of which more than 80 percent are upland hunters. Pheasants Forever estimates there are 2 million U.S. pheasant hunters.
State pheasant hunting season openers this weekend include Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota’s resident-only season. South Dakota’s general pheasant hunting opener is next weekend. Pheasants Forever’s 2012 Pheasant Hunting Forecast has complete season dates and information.
Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.