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col Pheasant hunters will see more birds

By John Weiss

weiss@postbulletin.com

As the Department of Natural Resources predicted in early August, based on the warm winter and relatively dry spring, the number of pheasants statewide nearly doubled this year compared with 2001.

The population this year is also up 36 percent over the 10-year average from 1992-2001, according to the DNR, but 38 percent below the long-term average of more than 40 years.

The DNR counts birds by driving the same specified routes about the same time in August and counting birds they see; it gives the numbers as birds per 100 miles of road driven.

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Statewide this year, the number was 65.2 birds per 100 miles, up from 35 last year.

In this region, the number shot up 132 percent over 2001, but last year was abysmal with only 17.5 birds per 100 miles, so this year's 40.6 is still well below what the numbers were in past decades.

The top region was the southwest at 113.2 per 100 miles, with south-central at 88, west-central at 67.4, central at 46.9 and east-central nosediving 53 percent to 26.1.

WALLEYE TALK: James Baker, who has fished in walleye tournaments for more than 20 years, guides on Mille Lacs Lake as well as the Mississippi River and owns the Bait Box in Rochester, will talk about fall fishing on the Mississippi at 7 p.m. Monday at the Elks Lodge, 917 15th Ave. S.E.

He will also cover jigging and trolling techniques and the best baits, colors and locations for this time of the year. The talk is part of the monthly meeting of Walleye Searchers of Minnesota and is free and open to the public.

THREE FUND-RAISER DINNERS: Ducks Unlimited, Bear Creek Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Bluff Country chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society will hold fundraiser dinners this month:

DU's will begin at 5 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Armory in southeastern Minnesota. Tickets are $50 per person; call Gene Matzke at 282-3469 for more information and to get tickets.

The second NWTF dinner will begin at 5 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Elks Lodge. Tickets are $40; call Tom Mangan at 289-4479 for more information.

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The 14th Ruffed Grouse Society dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Radisson Centerplace Hotel in Rochester. Tickets are $45 for individuals, $75 for couples. For more information, call Jim Garrett at 281-3237 in evenings.

DNR STRAIGHT SHOOTERS: Two DNR conservation officers from this region were among eight who won awards at the Minnesota Peace Police and Peace Officers Association Pistol Match Championships in St. Cloud. Four of them, including Mitch Boyum and Larry Webinger, won the 2002 state championship with 1,133 points out of a possible 2,000. Boyum also placed first in Master Timed Fire category and third in Master Grand Aggregate.

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