South Dakota pheasant numbers down, but hot spots remain

South Dakota pheasant numbers down, but hot spots remain

Posted: Updated:

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Wildlife officials had to dig deep Thursday to find positives in South Dakota’s annual pheasant brood survey, which showed a 17% decrease from last year, mainly because of an abundance of snow and rain in one of the premier bird hunting states.

The state Game, Fish and Parks Department report showed that the pheasant-per-mile count was 43% lower than the 10-year average, with only three of the 13 local areas seeing increases from 2018. Four areas saw minor declines and seven had drop-offs in double digits.

While it’s typical for first-time, mostly non-resident hunters to make their plans around those numbers, Matt Morlock, the state coordinator for the nonprofit Pheasants Forever, said South Dakota is still a great place to hunt the birds and that visitors shouldn’t be scared away by the survey results. Minnesota and Wisconsin are historically the top two states for non-resident hunting licenses in South Dakota.

“It’s a mixed message but overall it’s positive considering what mother nature threw at us,” Morlock said of the survey. “Overall we’re down 17 percent, which is within the margin of error, so that’s positive. The rooster population actually increased a little bit from last year and then our bird sizes went up, which are all positive.”

North Dakota, which most wildlife experts consider to be a top-five state for pheasants, has also seen plummeting numbers in recent years but for different reasons. It has been hampered by drought and declining habitat exacerbated by farmers planting crops on millions of acres of idled land that had been enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program. South Dakota has seen increased habitat in the last decade, Morlock said.

The South Dakota survey covered 110 routes, with 40 of them showing a higher pheasant-per-mile count than last year. The number of roosters statewide increased 2% from last year and the average brood size expanded by 3%. The number of hens fell by 21%.

There are some potential hot spots. The numbers were up 46% for the Aberdeen area, 12% for western South Dakota and 7% for Sisseton.

A news release outlining the report says “bird numbers are still plentiful” despite a tough winter and wet spring.

“Pheasant reproduction in 2019 is right in there with other years and lands open to public hunting are abundant, which means our second century of pheasant hunting will be off to a good start,” Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler said .

The traditional statewide season opens Oct. 19 and runs through Jan. 5.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Nearly 300 wild horses captured in central Idaho

    Nearly 300 wild horses captured in central Idaho

    Tuesday, November 12 2019 5:22 PM EST2019-11-12 22:22:23 GMT

    CHALLIS, Idaho (AP) — Nearly 300 wild horses have been captured in central Idaho as part of a plan by federal land managers to reduce the number of wild horses roaming the area to about 185. 

    CHALLIS, Idaho (AP) — Nearly 300 wild horses have been captured in central Idaho as part of a plan by federal land managers to reduce the number of wild horses roaming the area to about 185. 

  • Trailer with food for tens of thousands of veterans stolen in Kansas

    Trailer with food for tens of thousands of veterans stolen in Kansas

    Tuesday, November 12 2019 4:51 PM EST2019-11-12 21:51:54 GMT
    An unmarked trailer holding an estimated 70,000 meals for veterans was stolen from a Lenexa, Kansas parking lot.  The theft took place at the Friends in Service of Heroes building sometime between Saturday and Monday afternoon. Friends in Service of Heroes is an all-volunteer organization that encourages everyday American to honor our troops. In the trailer, there were 12,100 packages labeled "cheesy rice and vegetables" that were going to be delivered to the Kansas C...
    An unmarked trailer holding an estimated 70,000 meals for veterans was stolen from a Lenexa, Kansas parking lot.  The theft took place at the Friends in Service of Heroes building sometime between Saturday and Monday afternoon. Friends in Service of Heroes is an all-volunteer organization that encourages everyday American to honor our troops. In the trailer, there were 12,100 packages labeled "cheesy rice and vegetables" that were going to be delivered to the Kansas C...
  • No. 1 milk company declares bankruptcy amid drop in demand

    No. 1 milk company declares bankruptcy amid drop in demand

    Tuesday, November 12 2019 3:22 PM EST2019-11-12 20:22:15 GMT
    (AP) Got milk? Increasingly, Americans don’t, and that led the nation’s biggest milk producer to file for bankruptcy Tuesday. Dean Foods blamed a decades long drop in milk consumption that has seen people turn to alternatives like soda, juice and almond milk. The Dallas company said it may sell itself to the Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative owned by thousands of farmers. “Despite our best efforts to make our business more agile and cost-efficient,...
    (AP) Got milk? Increasingly, Americans don’t, and that led the nation’s biggest milk producer to file for bankruptcy Tuesday. Dean Foods blamed a decades long drop in milk consumption that has seen people turn to alternatives like soda, juice and almond milk. The Dallas company said it may sell itself to the Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative owned by thousands of farmers. “Despite our best efforts to make our business more agile and cost-efficient,...
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 Frankly and RFDTV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service , and Ad Choices .