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Minnesota pheasant season by the numbers

The season starts Oct. 16. Here’s what you need to know.

A rooster ringneck pheasant. Contributed / Pennsylvania Game Commission

Minnesota’s 2021 pheasant hunting season starts Saturday, Oct. 16 with prospects down some from last year as summer drought and extreme temperatures may have cut into pheasant chick production.

Minnesota's best pheasant hunting in 2021 will again be in the southwest and west. Contributed / Minnesota DNR

Here’s what you need to know if you go:

  • Season: Oct. 16 to Jan. 2
  • Hours: 9 a.m. to sunset.
  • Limit Oct. 16 to Nov. 30: two roosters daily, six in possession after three days of hunting.
  • Limit Dec. 1 to Jan. 2: three roosters daily, nine in possession after three days of hunting.
  • Resident license: $22 small game; $7.50 pheasant stamp validation; $3 Walk-in-Access validation.
  • 2021 August roadside survey: 41 pheasants per 100 miles, down 23% from 2020 but still above the 37.6 in 2019.
  • Long-term historical average: 90.6 pheasants per 100 miles.
  • Minnesota pheasant harvest, 1941: 1.8 million.
  • Minnesota pheasant harvest, 2019: 226,679
  • Watch for: Reduced habitat after farmers mowed some areas to get emergency hay for livestock during extreme drought conditions.
  • For more information: Go to dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/pheasant



  • Without more habitat, Minnesota's pheasant glory days won't return The addition of millions more acres of corn and soybeans in Minnesota has vastly reduced wildlife habitat in agricultural areas of the state.
  • Minnesota roadside pheasant count down 23% Extremely hot days early in the summer may have taken a toll.
John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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