Early October Blizzard Likely Hurt Dakota Pheasants

It seems the pheasants of North and South Dakota just can't catch a break this year.

It seems the pheasants of North and South Dakota just can't catch a break this year. South Dakota's roadside counts were already down an alarming 64 percent following a drought, cold/wet spring and the slashing of CRP habitat. Well, pile atop that dreadful news a harsh blizzard that slammed the Dakotas earlier this month. Many counties received a foot of snow, with the heaviest occurring along the ND/SD border.

Brad Dokken, who covers the outdoors for The Herald, reports that the situation looks pretty dire in the wake of the storm. At least one farmer says the pheasants at his North Dakota farm are "pretty much all gone." Dokken says that birds south of Highway 21 appear to have been hardest hit, but notes a wide variety of impacted areas including Mott, Regent, Hettinger and Lemmon.

This is largely speculation, of course, but with seasons now opening it will be interesting to see how hunters fare and what the final harvest tally looks like. I, for one, cannot recall a time when I've been more concerned about the future of pheasants and pheasant hunting in the Dakotas.

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