The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department today said pheasant brood counts are up 42 percent from last year in the statewide pheasants-per-mile index. The index represents an increase of 150 percent from a recent low only two years ago.
In a news release, Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever’s director in South Dakota who leads the group’’s regional office in Brookings, said he views the recent increases as motivation to continue charting a roadmap for further habitat programs in the state.
“Pheasants Forever is thrilled to see rebounding pheasant numbers which will make for a great hunting season in ‘The Pheasant Capital,’” Nomsen said in a statement. “Still, we must keep in mind the obstacles in subsequent years related to pheasant habitat loss. In the next five years alone, South Dakota is set to expire nearly 390,000 acres of CRP. Pheasants Forever is advising state leadership to consider more strategic conservation programs to help safeguard South Dakota’s pheasant hunting traditions over the long-term.”
“Habitat continues to be at the forefront of the conversation and is a crucial factor in pheasant numbers,” stated Kelly Hepler, SDGFP Secretary. “Bird numbers are higher in parts of the state where quality habitat conditions still exist, primarily on grasslands including those enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program as well as fields of cereal crops such as winter wheat. We continue to work in cooperation with the Governor’s Habitat Work Group, landowners, partner organizations and agencies to provide an improved future for wildlife habitat in our state.”