Annual August pheasant brood counts in South Dakota indicate that the statewide pheasant population is up from last year, and that should equate to an excellent pheasant season this fall.
Results of the survey show that pheasant numbers grew in many areas of the state, due in large part to a mild winter and ideal weather during the nesting and brood-rearing season.
The pheasants-per-mile index for 2012 is 4.21, up 18 percent from the 3.57 index of 2011.
“The mild winter of 2011-12 was the boost we needed for pheasant survival and reproductive potential,” explained Jeff Vonk, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. “It goes to show that, with the combination of good habitat and the right weather conditions, pheasants can be quite prolific.”
Much of the improvement in the pheasant counts came from areas of the state that had a good habitat base.
“Pheasant hunting will be good across most of the state, with the traditional pheasant range once again providing excellent hunting opportunities,” Vonk said. “More than 1.5 million pheasants were harvested last year, and our counts indicate that this year will be another exceptional year for pheasant hunting in South Dakota.”
Gov. Dennis Daugaard said the pheasant survey is good news for the state.
“Pheasant hunting is important to the economic well-being of South Dakota, and it also helps support the strong outdoor heritage of our state,” the Governor said.
The 2012 Pheasant Brood Survey Report, complete with comparisons for the different local areas, can be found online at http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/small-game/pheasant-outlook.aspx
Image courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks