Pheasants Forever has released its 2017 Pheasant Hunting Forecast, the most comprehensive upland hunting planner in the nation. While record snowfalls and a severe drought in 2017 contributed to significant bird population decreases in parts of the Midwest, expanses of the West and Great Plains show exciting signs for the season ahead. Future pheasant hunting prospects will rely heavily on the quantity and quality of grassland habitat available, stressing the importance of the 2018 Farm Bill and the resolve of upland hunters to advocate and contribute to the work of habitat conservation.
Pheasant hunting prospects for 2017 are a mixed bag of good and bad news, offering the traveling bird hunter an expectation of remarkable wingshooting in certain states with a bit of boot leather mileage, intel, and personal grit. On the flip side, Pheasants Forever remains steadfast in its task to help restore grasslands in the Midwestern states – South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota – where a perfect storm of extreme weather conditions and the loss of Conservation Reserve Program acreage have led to significant population decreases since last September.
Habitat in the form of diverse grasslands remains the key ingredient in the recipe for producing pheasants over the long-term. Pheasants Forever are working diligently to raise the national cap of the Conservation Reserve Program, from 24 million acres to 40 million acres, to ensure the resilience of future pheasant populations. Pheasants Forever members and chapters continue to effect change on the habitat front nationwide with 1.7 million acres impacted over the course of last year, making habitat readily available when Mother Nature is at its worst.