AUDIO: Federal lands closed to pheasant hunters

AUDIO: Federal lands closed to pheasant hunters Click to Enlarge Photo:

Oct 10, 2013 at 5:41 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Minnesota pheasant hunters will find less land available when the season opens Saturday.

St. Cloud area DNR conservation officer Mike Martin says due to the federal government shutdown, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed 13 national wildlife refuges and eight wetland management districts in Minnesota, totaling more than 489,000 acres of land. The situation is similar in neighboring South Dakota, another favorite destination of Minnesota hunters.

State and other non-federal public lands normally open to pheasant hunting remain open.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, more than 80,000 people are expected to hunt pheasants statewide this year.

Minnesota's pheasant population is down about 29 percent from 2012 due to a long winter followed by a cold, wet spring. But Minnesota hunters still are expected to harvest about 246,000 roosters this fall.

Martin says federal lands will be off limits to hunters during the government shutdown

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