South Dakota pheasants down more than 60 percent

Kansas hunters aren’t the only ones who will have to work hard for pheasants this fall.

South Dakota, long THE place to chase the long-tailed birds, looks to be facing a serious decrease in pheasants when the season opens this fall. A Pheasants Forever news release reports the state’s annual pheasant brood surveys show the state’s population to be down about 64 percent. That’s bad news to ¬†everyone in the state that picked the ring-necked pheasant as their state bird.

Pheasant hunting is estimated to be a more than $300 million business in South Dakota, with about 4,500 jobs linked to pheasant hunting.

Pheasants Forever biologists say some extreme weather conditions have contributed to the reduction in bird populations, but put more blame in habitat changes as increased acres of CRP or natural grasslands get converted into croplands. Like Kansas, some of South Dakota’s best pheasant populations in 30 years occurred within the past five years.

While the official summer brood survey results haven’t been released by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, ¬†you can CLICK HERE to see how populations looked heading into the Kansas nesting season.