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2013 South Dakota Pheasant Hunting Season Outlook Forecast Report - Spring

April 16, 2013 by

2013 Spring Pheasant Report & 2012 Harvest Survey Results

My summary below will give you up to date conditions of pheasants in the state of South Dakota along with spring nesting conditions and also a abbreviated summary of the 2012 South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Hunter Harvest Survey Results from last season. In addition I will give my analysis, on the above, as far as what hunters can expect come fall in regards to pheasant hunting in South Dakota.

The 2012 South Dakota Pheasant Harvest Survey Results

First off let me start by stating that there is plenty of bad press in the media about the state of pheasant hunting in South Dakota.  Yes we are losing CRP acres and yes there is more ground being converted to crops and yes some hunters are losing their hunting spots they have gone to for years.

With that being said all the hype in the media is being based off the comparison of last year to the record high harvest within the last ten years.  If you compared last year against the 10-20-30-40 year averages you might not agree that things are as "bad" as what the media is saying they are.

For instance......the state currently has just under 1 million acres of CRP in place.  There were two times in past history where the state had 0 (that's right zero) set aside acres in place.  The 2012 total pheasant harvest in the state was 1.4 million roosters (all wild and this number does not include preserves which release pheasants).

Going forward I will refer to numbers as reported by Non-Resident hunters since I believe that more accurately applies to to the audience and hunter base for the UGUIDE Pheasant Camps.

In 2012, NR hunters harvested 829,000 pheasants as opposed to the 10 year high of 1,100,000 pheasants harvested.  NR hunter satisfaction, on a scale of 1-7 with 7 being the highest, was 5.14 with the 6.00 being the highest over tha last 10 years.

Now we will summarize the number of pheasants harvested by county and average harvest per NR hunter by county.  It should be noted that the NR hunter hunted an average 4.35 days per season (which was comparable to the 10 year average).

COUNTY         TOTAL HARVEST     AVG # PER NR HUNTER     UGUIDE CAMPS IN THIS COUNTY

Charles Mix     27,724                  8.10                                Pheasant Camp Lodge, Cattail Haven

Dewey           16,447                  10.4                                West River Adventures

Edmunds        64,212                  10.5                                Roscoe-Hosmer

Faulk             51,982                  10.5                                Faulkton

Hand             54,505                  9.20                                Wolf Creek, Miller

Hyde             17,674                  10.7                                J Bar Lazy 7

McPherson      31,974                 9.80                                Old Bank Lodge

Miner             23,976                 8.20                                Boar's Nest

Perkins           15,754                 9.20                                Meadow Creek

Walworth        32,407                 8.90                                Gunner's Haven

 

Here is a link to the full South Dakota Hunter Harvest Survey Report

It should also be noted that these numbers were a blend of NR hunters that hunted public and/or private land.  I would argue that the private land numbers only would be a little higher yet as conditions are typically more favorable for pheasant hunting on private land vs. public, in general.

2013 South Dakota Pheasant Outlook Forecast Report

As far as birds over-wintering we had some of the mildest conditions on record.  With the drought contining thru winter pheasants had good access to food in the form of waste grains leftover from harvest and cover was not impacted by heavy snows.  The NE part of the state had the heaviest snow amount but we do not have any camps located in that region.

Good bird numbers have been reported coming into spring.  However, this spring is developingn much later than normal and temps have remained unseasonable cool.  With that has come some much needed moisture not only for farmers but also for pheasants and ducks alike in regards to nesting cover growth and insect production needed for the critical 2 month brood rearing period in summer.  I would hope to say the offset for late spring is balanced by the moisture needed to get some good nesting cover going. 

In summary, since 1992, hunters have averaged close to 10 pheasant per hunter on an average of 4-5 days hunting per year.   To date, no other state in the union can make these claims or comes close to this year over year performance as far as wild pheasants and hunting is concerned.

Please post your comments, observations or questions in the blog below.

Check Availability and Rates for UGUIDE Pheasant Camps

Posted in: Pheasant Outlook Forecast Report


Reader Comments

2 Comments on 2013 South Dakota Pheasant Hunting Season Outlook Forecast Report - Spring


  • Thanks for the report and information.

    Dan Sell April 19, 2013 12:00 AM

  • How does the bird look in Potter and Walworth counties. I usually hunt the Lebanon area, to Hoven and Seneca etc. thanks in advance - Hunt Fair Chase

    mike lane September 7, 2013 12:00 AM

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