Monday, March 31, 2014

Bad weather, habitat losshard on South Dakota pheasants

By Annie King

Ringneck populations

As for pheasant numbers, there has been a significant drop. In 2013, the statewide pheasant per square mile was 1.52, which is a 64 percent drop from 2012, which was at 4.19 birds per square mile, according to a brood survey.

Thompson said reasons for pheasant decline are in some ways similar to the deer decline.
“With a combination of poor weather conditions and also a large loss in habitat, it has resulted in a sharp decline in pheasant numbers,” Thompson said, adding that about two million acres of grassland have been converted into cropland over the past five to seven years. 

Hunters noticed the decline this past hunting season. 

“I have two teenage boys and we went out hunting for 11 days and, between the three of us, we shot four birds,” said Ray Ireland, of Aberdeen. “We didn’t even harvest a deer this year, either. Hunting was a disappointment this year.”

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