The impact of a snowy winter and wet spring is hitting hard at one of the state’s popular fall activities.The poor weather has dramatically cut the number of pheasants that’ll be available when hunters take to the field in October. Terry Little oversees wildlife research for the Department of Natural ResourcesLittle says the numbers this year are the worst since they began surveys in 1962. Bird numbers are down 50 to 60 percent for most of the state. He says the loss of conservation reserve grassland has also hurt bird numbers in parts of the state.That’s the case mostly in the northern part of the state where numbers were expected to be down regardless of the weather. Little says he’s confident though that things will turn back around. He says the report of fewer birds might have an impact on the number of hunters who take to the fields.Hunters took over one million pheasants last year — an increase of 11-percent over 1999. Little says pheasant season opens October 27th and runs through January 10th.
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