UNDATED -- Minnesota pheasant hunters should find more birds this year when the season opens on October 10th.

Tim Lyons is an upland game research scientist with the DNR. He says their roadside survey this year showed a 42% increase in the pheasant index compared to a year ago and a 37% increase over the 10-year average.

Lyons says the weather this spring and summer was favorable for pheasants and enabled more hens to raise chicks, which drove the increase.

Lyons says nesting habitat is critical to the pheasant population and they were able to get more federal funding this year to increase the acreage in the Conservation Reserve Program to provide that critical habitat.

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