UNDATED -- As we approach the start of pheasant hunting season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reporting the number of birds is down slightly this year.

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The DNR says their annual roadside wildlife survey shows 25% fewer birds than in 2020 however, the pheasant population remains on par with the 10-year average in all regions of the state.

Tim Lyons is a game research scientist with the DNR. He says the drought and wildfire smoke may have made the birds less detectable, possibly skewing the numbers.

Lyons says hunters should see plenty of pheasants when the season opens on October 16th.

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