South Dakota Drought Conditions Will Likely Affect Pheasant Numbers

The north-central portion of South Dakota may be in rough shape in October

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota drought conditions will be affecting more than just farmers and ranchers this fall: Hunters will also likely be affected.

The north-central portion of South Dakota may be in rough shape in October.

Travis Runia, senior upland game biologist for the Game, Fish and Parks Department, says the Mobridge area, which dealt with heavy winter snows, is bearing the brunt of the drought.

South Dakota’s pheasant range is also expected to be impacted.

Game, Fish and Parks says drought can result in poor chick survival due to reduced insect availability and reduced vegetative cover.

In 2008, changes in land use began to change how counties produced more pheasants. Nearly 15 years ago, counties along the James River valley once had the state’s highest concentrations of pheasants. The counties in the Missouri River valley now have South Dakota’s highest pheasant production.