Overall Outlook: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.
Remember to always consult official state hunting regulations for rules and season dates, and please carry Pheasants Forever's code of conduct with you into the field this fall:
As a member of Pheasants Forever, I believe in conserving wildlife and protecting the environment. I promise to leave the outdoors a little better than I found it. I will hunt safely and treat hunting on public and private land as a privilege. I will always ask permission before hunting private land. I will obey all game laws and insist my companions do as well.Good luck pheasant hunters!