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Minnesota pheasant harvest drops

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The number of pheasant hunters in Minnesota plunged last year along with the ringneck harvest.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says only 62,000 pheasant hunters took to the fields last fall, and they bagged only 169,000 roosters.

That's the fewest hunters and lowest harvest in 27 years. Hunter numbers declined 19 percent and the pheasant harvest was down 32 percent from 2012.

Hunters likely were responding to a big loss of habitat, poor nesting weather and a corresponding drop in the ringneck population in recent years.

Last year, Minnesota's pheasant population dropped 29 percent. Minnesota has recently lost more than 100 square miles of grassland habitat in the pheasant range.