ST. PAUL (AP) - Wildlife managers say Minnesota pheasant hunters this fall should find similar conditions to last year, but that the long-term decline in the rooster harvest is expected to continue.

The Department of Natural Resources' annual roadside survey shows a 6 percent increase in the pheasant population from 2013 despite a severe winter, a slow start to spring and heavy rains in June. But DNR researcher Nicole Davros cautions against direct comparisons because last year's roadside survey probably undercounted pheasants due to a late hatch.

Pheasant hunters are expected to kill about 224,000 roosters this fall, which is less than half the harvest during the 2005-2008 seasons when hunting was exceptionally good. The DNR says the loss of acres protected by the Conservation Reserve Program is the main reason for the decline.