Pheasant. (DNR photo)

The DNR wildlife biologist who tracks pheasant numbers says the winter and spring weather should offset each other to set up for a good fall hunting season.

Todd Bogenschutz uses a model of bird survival based on past weather information. He says the winter was mixed for pheasants.
“The northwest part of the state had relatively normal to just slightly below normal winter. The eastern third definitely had more snow than normal. The southeast had several ice layers, and in January and February, I was told humans could walk on top of it without breaking through,” Bogenschutz says.

He says the drought conditions actually help pheasants this spring during nesting, as a dry spring is usually good for the birds. Bogenschutz says the number of birds will vary by region. He says they should be good in the northwest part of the state and not so good in the eastern part of the state — so he expects the overall numbers should be as good or better than last year.

Bogenschutz says the hatch is over and he’s already been hearing reports of birds. He says he’s had reports recently of young pheasants up the size of a meadowlark — which is about what he would expect. Bogenschutz says they will know for sure how well the pheasants have fared when they do their August roadside survey.