S.D. pheasant numbers down, but hot spots remain

Published 8:14 am Friday, September 6, 2019

PIERRE, S.D.  — Wildlife officials had to dig deep Thursday to find positives in South Dakota’s annual pheasant brood survey, which showed a 17 percent 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 percent 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.

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