May 30, 2013 by Chris Hitzeman
As usual the weather is neither predictable nor ho-hum in the state of South Dakota when it comes to pheasant nesting or farming.
As of my last writing we would find the state still in the grips of a severe drought and yet also catching April snows like never before. The ground just ate those snows up like crazy with no benefit to dugouts levels or pothole or creek levels as all the moisture went into the ground with little to no runoff.
As of this writing I see the May totals for rainfall in our county with 7+ inches where the average is about 3. This is good though because the area potholes are still bone dry and pheasants have not begun hatching as of yet.
Pheasants should be in the peak of nest building and more likely are in the egg laying process which can run about 20 days. Once all eggs are laid the hens will begin stting on nests and incubating the eggs which should be in process now. Chicks usually begin hatching around Fathers Day in June as the annual hatch average.
Biologists will tell you that high moisture levels in winter or in summer are not favorable for pheasants. Iowa has sustained recently heavy heavy rainfall amounts. South Dakota has also had healthy rainfall and it is undetermided whether these amounts are detrimental to pheasant nesting. I will tell you that moisture is needed for insect production and insects are crucial to feeding the new broods for the first two months or their lives. The potholes remain mostly empty now and make for good utilization by pheasants.
If we sustain cooler temps and these high levels of rainfall into the peak hatch season this will no be favorable for pheasants. But in the case of South Dakota coming off historic drought conditions there could be an offset for the rainfall amounts.
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