Why does Minnesota cater to non-native species, like pheasants?
Nicole Davros, DNR upland gamebird research scientist, got this one:
Although prairie chickens are native to Minnesota, loss and fragmentation of prairie habitat has reduced their range to northern Minnesota. Pheasants, on the other hand, have become an important symbol of our intensive agricultural landscape and a species that many sportsmen and women love to pursue. Pheasant hunters are a core constituency for MN DNR’s wildlife management efforts. From 1983-2016, between 75,000 to 133,000 hunters have spent time in the field each fall chasing roosters and they have generated nearly $3.5 million in revenue through pheasant stamp sales alone. The funds raised through pheasant stamp sales (as well as small game license fees) are an important part of the budgets we have for conservation work – work that affects all grassland wildlife species, including ducks, bobolinks, meadowlarks, pollinators, frogs, toads, and turtles, among others.
Thanks for asking!