Minnesota pheasant hunter numbers have fallen from the 270,000 in the early 60s, to which Dayton alluded, to just 58,000 last year. Not only would the pheasant initiative boost ringneck numbers, it would also improve water quality and benefit a number of non-game species. High crop prices have driven an increased loss of habit since 2007, as many farmers opted out of CRP programs and cleared fencerows and windbreaks. "The impact of this loss of habitat is huge," DNR pheasant biologist Nicole Davros told Star Tribune. "This loss hasn't affected just pheasants but other grassland-dependent wildlife, including songbirds, pollinators and other beneficial insects."