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Rick

OutdoorMN News - Pheasant hunting a great excuse to get outdoors in December

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Rick

Pheasant hunters still have time to harvest roosters this December. 

“We had a late corn harvest which affected the early pheasant season but things are shaping up nicely for late-season hunting,” said Nicole Davros, farmland wildlife research supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Additionally, despite the lower overall count on our roadside surveys this year, our rooster index went up slightly. This means there are still birds to chase out there.”

Field conditions were wet enough that the corn harvest was significantly delayed this fall.

“Now that the crops are out of the fields, there are fewer places to hide and hunters should be seeing more roosters,” Davros said.

Despite warmer weather in late November, pheasants are already using both grassland cover and winter cover such as cattail sloughs and willow thickets, according to Scott Roemhildt, DNR Walk-in Access Program coordinator.

“Hunters who are willing to work these tougher-to-reach areas will have opportunities to harvest birds,” Roemhildt said. “The colder weather in our forecast will make wetlands more accessible to hunters as the water freezes up.”

Both Davros and Roemhildt agree that late-season pheasant hunting is a great excuse to get away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, regardless of whether any roosters are put in your bag.

“Pheasant hunting is a great way to stretch your legs and clear your mind when things get hectic,” Davros said.

Added Roemhildt: “It’s also a chance to introduce someone new to pheasant hunting as kids get time off from school and family comes to visit.”

On Dec. 1, the daily bag limit increased to three roosters with a possession limit of nine roosters.

Hunters need a small game license and a pheasant stamp to hunt pheasants in Minnesota. A small game license costs $22 for Minnesota residents age 18 to 64, and the pheasant stamp costs $7.50. Pheasant hunters 65 and older need to buy a small game license for $13.50 but are not required to buy a stamp. Hunters age 16 to 17 must buy a $5 small game license but do not need to buy a stamp, and hunters under 16 can hunt pheasants without a license or stamp.

Hunters can also purchase a Walk-In Access validation for $3 to gain additional public hunting opportunities on private land that is enrolled in the program. As of September, 25,335 acres of land across 241 sites in western and southern Minnesota have been enrolled in the program.

Minnesota’s 2017 pheasant season is open through Monday, Jan. 1. Shooting hours are 9 a.m. to sunset. Additional details on pheasant hunting are available at mndnr.gov/hunting/pheasant. Additional details on the Walk-In Access Program are available at mndnr.gov/walkin.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Cret Jigs
      I will be out on Blue on Saturday morning. ... see you out there 
    • Wanderer
      That’s pretty awesome! I’ve been keeping an eye out around the house but haven’t seen enough activity to coax me out in the temps we’ve been having.  We mainly have fox around the house, and only one good yote.  We had a young wolf do a lap around the house in the spring but haven’t seen him around since.  I know I couldn’t shoot him but I’d sit out just to see him if he started showing up again. Mainly turkey tracks as of late.  
    • Wanderer
      Probably two of the safest bets in the area. I haven’t fished Crooked off Bunker for several years but it always seemed to have plenty of fish. Have you ever been on the Moore lakes near 65 and 694?  Sometimes they get a lot of attention, and I’d have to think for good reason.   Twin Lakes in Robbinsdale used to be a favorite stop for us when we were young.  Did good on pannies and surprisingly well on pike. If you don’t mind traveling further west, Medicine is a pretty good lake.  Lots of memories fishing the crappie hole in front of the beach on the southwest side.
    • PRO-V
      Gulp spray seems to help also.
    • Wanderer
      I prefer ciscoes too.  I just don’t always have access to them.  They leave a better scent trail.  That’s part of the reason for a little kick of salt on the frozen suckers.  Anise could help too.
    • Hawg
      Not that I know of. First time I used one and constantly had to clear the shavings and drill kept cutting out. Drill is a 1200# fuel. 
    • PRO-V
      I always did best with frozen Cisco's suspended on a quick strike rig.
    • PRO-V
      I tried a few times during that 30 below weather. Saw nothing but thousands of wolf tracks. That night while we sat on the hunting shack deck having a cigar a pack of coyotes we're yipping out by our trucks 400 yds away. They were probably tipped off by our generator though and couldn't get them to come in. I did see 2 moose 30yds in front of me going into one calling spot. That was cool.
    • going4it
      Coon lake up 65 and off 22. Also Lake George. Both pretty good panfish populations to keep busy. 
    • Brandon Klatt
      Thanks for the replies guys. Usually target panfish and eyes so actually going for pike is kinda a whole new world to me. lol
  • Share & Have Fun