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Drought Conditions Could Hurt South Dakota Pheasant Numbers

(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Hunters hoping for a good pheasant hunting season this fall better start hoping for some rain, pronto!

KDLT News is reporting the dry conditions that most counties here in South Dakota are currently experiencing will likely have a bearing on what kind of pheasant hunting season we will see in the state later this fall.

Travis Runia, the senior upland game biologist for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department told KDLT News, if things stay the same, the north-central portion of South Dakota may be in tough shape come October.

Runia said, the Mobridge area, which dealt with heavy winter snows, is bearing the brunt of the drought at the moment.

Drought conditions have a direct impact on chick survival due to reduced insect availability and reduced vegetative cover. That in turn, affects South Dakota’s pheasant range.

Changes in land use in the eastern part of South Dakota back in 2008 created a change in pheasant production. Larger pheasant populations began to shift westward in the state.

According to the KDLT News report, counties along the James River valley once had the state’s highest concentrations of pheasants nearly 15 years ago. These days, not so much. Currently, counties in the Missouri River valley now stake claim to the highest pheasant production in the state.

There’s a chance the pheasant population could be in for another change if some of these central and western South Dakota counties don’t start seeing precipitation levels increase soon.  

Source: KDLT News

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