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Don’t look past late season pheasants

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Don’t look past late season pheasants
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With just a few weeks left of the 2013 pheasant season, many hunters have put away their gear, creating opportunities for those who want to harvest some late season roosters, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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“There are definitely birds out there,” said Jeff Zajac, DNR area wildlife manager for Brown, Redwood and Renville counties. “I think it’s better around here than last year.”

Zajac said the wet spring forced many pheasant hens to renest and hatch chicks much later than is typical. “We had reports of chicks in August and those may have been missed when we were doing our roadside counts,” he said. “Those pheasants are now huntable birds.”

Late season hunting requires different strategies according to Zajac. The early snows have pushed down and filled in grassland habitat that was used as cover by the birds earlier in the season. Pheasants are moving into areas with more thermal cover, such as cattail sloughs.

“The good news is that the birds are easier to find, but it does take a little more effort to hunt them in sloughs,” Zajac said.

Cory Netland, DNR area wildlife supervisor for six counties in the Willmar area, has also seen late season success by hunters.

Netland suggests hunting cattails, willows, conifer plantings and food plots.

The Minnesota pheasant season is open through Jan. 1. Since Dec. 1, the daily bag limit has been three roosters and the possession limit is nine.

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