Like savvy consumers, hunters each fall gauge prospects for success against the time and cost required to put a bird – or venison steak – in hand. Minnesota, for instance, didn't always have 500,000 deer hunters. Only since the state's whitetail population exploded did so many blaze-orange-clad residents go afield. Similarly, last year, when pheasant numbers were depressed, a paltry 47,000 ringneck seekers tromped the uplands – compared to some 300,000 in 1958, when florid roosters abounded. Here, then, is the species-by-species calculus that hunters will consider this fall before lacing up their boots.