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Drought Affecting South Dakota Pheasant Population


For many folks, Christmas is the favorite time of year. For others it might be Thanksgiving or maybe the start of summer.

But for thousands of people in and around South Dakota (and around the world for that matter), the absolute best time is October!

The start of pheasant hunting season in South Dakota.

Depending on how old you are and where you live, it might be the weekend of October 7, 14 or 21. You can bet one or more of those weekends is circled on calendars on refrigerators around the area.

I remember the years I lived in Winner (and its the same in many places around the state), in October you’d see license plates from Louisiana to Maine, California to Florida. It’s time to knock down some birds!

Winner Would Fill Up For Pheasant Season

But, it may be just a little tougher this fall.

According to the Mitchell Daily Republic pheasant numbers are down considerably from 2016, maybe by as much as 45%. Why the dramatic drop?

The drought.

A survey shows the ‘pheasants per mile’ in 2017 is the second lowest since 1979. Thanks (or no thanks) to the drought, habitat loss is the biggest reason for the decline.

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