According to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) officials, this year’s pheasant brood survey shows a 47 percent increase over last year. The 2018 statewide pheasants-per-mile (PPM) index is 2.47, up from the 2017 index of 1.68.
“A substantial increase in the pheasants-per-mile index is an exciting prospect for South Dakota’s 100th pheasant hunting season this fall,” stated Kelly Hepler, SDGFP secretary. “Weather conditions continue to play a significant role when it comes to bird numbers and better weather helped this year with the average pheasant brood size increasing 22 percent over last year.”
Not only should hunters experience higher success rates due to an increase in pheasant population, but they’ll have more land on which to hunt, too, as the state’s Walk-in Area (WIA) public hunting program added 47,000 acres of accessible hunting land over the last two years. With this increase in land, hunters now have 1.1 million acres of public hunting land on which to pursue pheasants.
“Challenges exist to maintain habitat, desirable pheasant population levels and to recruit a new generation of hunters to preserve this truly special sport of pheasant hunting. Take time this fall to celebrate the hunt, the sense of community and comradery while appreciating how deeply rooted the tradition of pheasant hunting has been for the last 100 years,” said Hepler.