OKLAHOMA CITY — Pheasant hunting typically requires a good deal of walking and this year it may require a bit more.

Population surveys of the popular game birds show a decrease in reproduction going into the season, according to Doug Schoeling, upland game bird biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.’

“It all goes back to rainfall. This past spring and summer was extremely dry and warm, which are not good conditions for pheasant broods,” Schoeling said. “Some areas showed as a much as a 50 percent decrease in pheasant broods over last year.”

The ring neck pheasant was first introduced into Oklahoma in 1911 and are a popular gamebird from northcentral Oklahoma to the Panhandle. The colorful birds prefer cultivated farmland habitat mixed with weedy fencerows and overgrown pastures.

“In areas with good habitat that received enough rain at the right time, there should be some good hunting opportunities,” Schoeling said. “The great thing about pheasant hunting is you can go by your self or you can gather with friends and family and make the hunt a big social event.”

The season runs December 1 through January 31, 2007, and hunters should consult the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide” for open zones and wildlife management areas.

The daily bag limit for pheasants is two cocks, with a possession limit of four after the first day and six after the second day. Pheasant hunters should note that legal shooting hours are sunrise to sunset, except on some wildlife management areas. Evidence of sex (head or one foot) must remain on the bird until it reaches its final destination. When the deer gun and the special antlerless deer seasons (in open zones) overlap with pheasant season, all pheasant hunters must wear either a hunter orange cap or vest.

Before going afield, be sure to pick up a copy of the “2006-07 Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” available at all hunting and fishing license dealers or log onto wildlifedepartment.com