Pheasant numbers bleak, but still reason for optimism
Ten days ago they got the news.
"When those brood counts came out it wasn't very encouraging," said
Executive Director of Huron's Chamber of Commerce Peggy Woolridge.
"According to Game, Fish, and Parks and the methodology that they
use, it looked like the count was down about 64%. One thing I would
point out is the brood count doesn't necessarily correlate to actual
pheasant population," said South Dakota Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen.
Central and eastern South Dakota counties often see a boost to their economies in mid October through January.
"For a lot of these smaller counties it's a lifeline. It's their life
blood to see these pheasant hunters come in each fall," said Hagen.
That's why this year's pheasant outlook is so disconcerting.
heard from a lot of hunters that have said yes we understand the
numbers, but South Dakota is not alone in what's happening. Every state
that has pheasants was affected by the drought in 2012, the cold wet
spring in 2013," said Hagen.
But, don't bag the season just yet. Woolridge has reason for optimism.
recently I spoke with representatives from Game, Fish, and Parks as
well as area farmers and what they're telling me is there was a late
hatch, and so now they're seeing the birds that they didn't see when
they did the brood count," said Woolridge.
So, hunters might have to practice a bit more patience this season.
You might not get your limit in a quick half hour. Instead, you'll get
to enjoy more of the South Dakota prairie.
"There's still going to be birds. I think there's still going to be
great pheasant hunting. You might have to work a little harder," said
Added Hagen, "Even despite the lower numbers or the brood count
numbers we're still the premier pheasant hunting spot in the United