A long winter followed by a cold, wet spring has contributed to a significant decrease in Minnesota’s pheasant population. The Department of Natural Resources says Minnesota’s pheasant index declined 29% from 2012, reflecting trends seen in neighboring states. Minnesota’s 2013 pheasant index is 64% below the 10-year average and 72% below the long-term average. The DNR says habitat loss is the main reason for the long-term decline. Minnesota hunters are still expected to harvest about 246,000 roosters this fall. But that’s down 44,000 from last year, and less than half the number taken during the 2005 through 2008 seasons, when pheasant hunting was exceptionally good.