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2008 South Dakota Pheasant Hunting Outlook Forecast - June

May 21, 2008 by

Having been recently out on the farm in south-central South Dakota, I am happy to report good news and bad news. The bad news first....lots of dead birds on the roads and lots of bird/car collisions. Now the good news....that is the good news. When I was traveling the roads near Aberdeen 2 years ago, I noticed an excessive amount of dead pheasants on the road. I felt bad for a minute but then realized this was the result of extremely high pheasant populations. So now it is a measuring stick for me and I am oddly encouraged when I see these indicators. I spent about 10 days in the Charles Mix County SD area, preparing for food plot planting and other projects. The weather could be summed up as cool and wet with no insect hatches. By the end of my stay on the day that I left there was a tremendous insect hatch due to the previous days warm weather. Insects are a pheasant chick's diet for the first 2 months. Critical. All week I noticed an abundant amount of rooster crowing in both the mornings and evenings. Quite a lot of visibility of roosters showing and fighting defending their showing spots. I ran into at least two sets of roosters that were going at it head to head right on the center line of the state hwy. The other thing I noticed that I had not ever seen before was the number of roosters with hen clutches. One morning I was out driving and in a 1 mile stretch of road I came across 6 roosters that each had 6-8 hens close to each of them. These groups were evenly spread out I assume due to territory pressure. Looking forward, I am very optimistic. When I left the area there was a lot of farmers getting there crops in. This means it was drying out and warming up. That's good for the nesting season since we need a nice warm and dry June to have a banner hatch. Additionally, there was a lot of standing water around and I believe that many farmers will leave these areas fallow as they need to get their corn in and are willing to forego getting these areas planted in lieu of getting the majority of crop acres in. This is a similar scenario to what occurred last year. On top of that, we have had 2 years of excellent winter weather and abundant carryover of mature birds. If there was ever a year to get a trophy bird, this would be it, based on the fact that some birds could be going into their 3rd year. I also expect, like last year, birds will be wilder right out of the shoot on opening day because of the mature bird carryover. The unknown impact of CRP expiring acres going back to crop production is largely immeasurable at this time. In the South where my place is, there is not as much CRP as in the North. Check Availability of South Dakota Pheasant Hunting with UGUIDE Self Guided Pheasant Hunts