2013 South Dakota Pheasant Hunting Brood Count Survey Report
August 12, 2013 by Chris Hitzeman
We did a mini survey on our farm and held a contest, to win a free UGUIDE hat, on the local pheasant forum for the person who could guess the closest number of roosters, hens without broods and broods flushed by my tractor & mower and newly installed flushing bar while doing maintenance clipping of 200 acres of newly planted CRP. Guesses were all over the map but the surprising this was just about all were way low on the number of broods that I would flush.
This mowing took place about the 3rd week in July. The end result of what was flushed and counted in unique counts was 9 roosters, 15 hens without broods (hens on nests possibly) and 50 broods (which most had a hen with them).
Broods ranged in all sizes as far as the size of the bird goes. Brood size was in the 6-10 range but hard to really tell as I am sure in most cases I was not seeing a complete brood any of the time due to cover and other variables.
Now here this week I needed to clip another 40 acres that I was not able to get to in July and attached more bells and noise making devices on the front of the flushing bar. Again I flsuhed a good number of birds and some real small ones yet too. One group of birds hard to number 20 when they flushed and were quite good flyers and good in size. I assume they were 2 broods combined.
Bottom line is I am encouraged by what I see but yet really still have no idea what kind of bird numbers exist in the area due to all the cover and how few birds seem to be collecting on the roads in the morning like is usually expected.
Survival conditions are good as the bug and insect population is excellent. July was fairly dry but no the first few days of August have been unseasonably wet yet there are no deluge rains. There have been some isolated areas of hail but that is to be expected.
Here's the actual counts per plot surveyed:
Plot 1, 20 acres
2 fawns, 2 roosters, 4 hens and 10 broods.
Plot 2, 26 acres
1 rooster, 3 hens and 8 broods
Plot 3, 30 acres
1 hen, 4 roosters, 11 broods, 2 whitetails
Plot 4, 20 acres
1 hen and 2 broods
Plot 5, 40 acres
2 rooties, 2 hens, 2 broods
Plot 6, 20 acres
1 hen, 5 broods
Plot 7, 30 acres
Plot 3, 3 hens, 12 broods
9 Roosters, 15 hens without broods, 50 broods (assume each brood had a hen with it), 2 fawns
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Posted in: SD Pheasant Outlook
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