Governor Mark Dayton is leading a conference of 300 delegates this weekend who are discussing how to reverse Minnesota's declining pheasant population.
The first Minnesota Pheasant Summit is being held at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall Saturday, bringing together hunters, farmers, landowners and state officials who will determine a plan to boost pheasant numbers, KSTP reports.
The destruction of prairie and wetlands along with cold winters and wet, cool springs have contributed to a "dramatic" reduction in numbers in recent years, according to MPR, and Dayton, himself an avid pheasant hunter, is keen to arrest the decline.
"For almost 60 years, I have enjoyed pheasant hunting in Minnesota," Dayton told the Pioneer Press. "But the decisions we make today will determine whether future generations of Minnesotans will have those same opportunities."
"We're not going to come out of a one-day meeting with a plan to save the world, but I have confidence we will come up with a handful of good initiatives and action items we can roll with."
The goal of the summit will be to come up with some "concrete ideas" for a four-year action plan, Mike Tenney, of the DNR, told the Pioneer Press, ideas which will then be discussed at a DNR roundtable next month.
The loss of pheasant nesting and wintering habitat was identified as one of the biggest concerns among hunters when it comes to preserving future game seasons, the newspaper notes.