Low Numbers, High Optimism for 2017 Pheasant Hunting Season

South Dakota is known as the “pheasant hunting capital” of the world.

But this year, the numbers aren’t looking too good for those hoping to hit the fields.

A state survey shows the population of the birds has dropped nearly by half.

Harsh winters in the north combined with a difficult spring drought throughout the Dakotas directly impacted the bird count in the state.

The 2017 statewide Pheasants Per Mile (PPM) index decreased 45% from 2016’s index. (More info: http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/docs/PBR2017.pdf)

It’s something hunters are sure to notice.

“They will see it, but there’s also where there’s great habitat, there will be great bird numbers, so you got to get out there get your boots on the ground and get out in the field and have fun,” said Mike Stephenson, Regional Representative for Pheasants Forever.

Stephenson says the numbers could rebound with a light winter, and good spring and summer conditions.

Pheasants Forever is also working to build a strong CRP program in the state to promote healthy habitats. More info: http://crpworks.org/