DNR 2015 Small Game Survey Released, Pheasant Success Up 41% over 2014

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MN Pheasant hunters found, on average, greater success last fall than in 2014. 

DNR Press Release

About the same number of small game hunters took to the field in 2015 compared to the year before. By species, the number of pheasant hunters was up slightly, with duck hunters stable and grouse hunters down slightly, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources annual small game survey. 

In 2015, the number of pheasant hunters was 63,350, representing an increase of 10 percent from 2014.

An estimated 76,243 people hunted ducks, essentially the same as last year.

Ruffed grouse hunter numbers were estimated at 79,058 a decrease of 5 percent from 2014.

Statewide estimates show small game hunters harvested about 243,176 pheasants (up 59 percent), 663,811 ducks (down 5 percent), and 267,997 ruffed grouse (down 11 percent) in 2015 with margins of error in the results of between 9 and 14 percent.

With the exception of pheasant, individual hunter success rates were comparable to 2014. Pheasant hunters harvested an average of 3.8 pheasants in 2015, which was 41 percent higher than 2014 when 2.7 pheasants were taken per hunter. Duck hunters harvested an average of 8.7 ducks in 2015 compared to 9.3 in 2014. Woodcock hunters harvested 3 birds per hunter, compared to 2.7 in 2014. Ruffed grouse hunters harvested an average of 3.4 grouse in 2015, compared to 3.6 in 2014.

The DNR annually surveys small game hunters to make estimates of both hunter numbers and harvest trends. For the 2015 season, 7,000 small game license buyers were surveyed of which 3,485 surveys were returned and usable.

The complete report is on the DNR website.

LCPF Mentor Hunt Set for Oct. 22

The Lyon County Pheasants Forever (LCPF) Mentor Hunt for youth ages 17 and under, and for new women hunters of all ages, has been scheduled for Sat., Oct. 22, 2016 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Once again, the event will be based out of the Redwood River Sportsman’s Club (RRSC) located eight miles southeast of Marshall.  The event will introduce young and novice hunters to pheasant hunting with the assistance of adult mentors and their dogs.  As with last year’s hunt, inexperienced families will also have a chance to sign up for the hunt. The event is free, thanks to the generous support of LCPF’s sponsors and members and RRSC.

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Participants found great success at the 2015 LCPF Mentor Hunt, and with a mild winter and average spring, bird numbers are expected to be good for the event this year!

“The Mentor Hunt is a great experience for new hunters; they know it’s all about them and they get first shot in that exciting moment when a rooster flushes,” said Nick Simonson, LCPF President, “participants will also get the chance to shoot trap, experience LCPF’s Young Guns package and have some fun on the RRSC range,” he continued.

Area youth, women and inexperienced hunting families can be registered for the mentor hunt by contacting Simonson at 507-829-9553 or by emailing him at lyoncountypf@gmail.com, with the subject “Mentor Hunt.”  Applicants must provide the full name, address, age, phone number and firearms safety certificate number for each participating hunter at the time of registration, and the full name, address and phone number of the parent or adult chaperone who will be attending with any youth hunter.  All participants must have completed their firearm safety course prior to the event and must possess all necessary licenses and stamps, unless exempted by law. The deadline to register for the event is October 14, 2016.

“Hunting builds family bonds that cannot be broken,” said Simonson, “some of my fondest memories are being in the field with my dad and brother, forever tying our relationships together through some great hunts; that’s why LCPF is focused on including inexperienced families in this event,” he concluded.

LCPF is also seeking mentors with trained dogs for the hunt on Oct. 22.  Those individuals interested in mentoring for the day-long event should also contact Simonson, providing their contact information along with the type of dog they would bring for the hunt.  Volunteers are also needed to help with lunch, monitor the ranges and assist with activities throughout the day.   Further, landowners anywhere in the Lyon County area who are willing to allow access to their property for the afternoon “destination” portion of the event can do so by contacting Simonson.

“While we hunt a great deal of the excellent public land in the area, private landowners provide a resource that increases our participants’ odds of seeing and bagging a rooster each year,” said Simonson, “their support of this program through access is greatly appreciated by the chapter and the participants.”

For more information regarding the Mentor Hunt, visit LCPF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lyoncountypf, or on Twitter @lyoncountypf.