MONTEVIDEO -- Wildlife managers are predicting good hunting when Minnesota's pheasant season opens Saturday.

The Department of Natural Resources says the state's pheasant population is up an estimated 29 percent from last year thanks to another mild winter and good nesting conditions this spring, although standing crops will provide ample cover.

Gov. Mark Dayton travels to Montevideo for the sixth annual Minnesota Governor's Pheasant Hunting Opener. It marks a return to the city that hosted his inaugural pheasant opener in 2011. Dayton will attend a community banquet Friday evening. He'll be joined in the field Saturday by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.

Minnesota's long-term pheasant population trend remains downward due to the loss of grassland. The population is about 14 percent below the 10-year average and 48 percent below the long-term average.

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