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South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Discontinues its Annual Brood Count Survey

June 06, 2020 by

NOTE:  This article reprint was asked to be taken down by the author (Luke Hagen) and editor of the Mitchell Daily Republic paper.  You can find it there or better yet look at a wide variety of responses on the GFP decision HERE.  See Luke's blog post below for more details on removal request.

I personal stopped reading the Mitchell Daily Republic and the Aberdeen News because of their limited access to content.

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Posted in: News, SD GFP News, Pheasant Outlook, Pheasant Harvest Report, Conservation


Reader Comments

12 Comments on South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Discontinues its Annual Brood Count Survey


  • 700,000 over a 3 year period = $2,100,000. That money would be better spent acquiring more habitat or improving existing habitat. Spending that money on advertising is nonsense!

    Dave Kestler June 7, 2020 12:06 PM

  • It seems like the problem is being covered up, in order to get hunters to buy licenses and spend money, when really the birds are not there anymore. We did a trip in November of 2019 through South Dakota. We stopped in Mott, that was once a pheasant Mecca. The locals said the pheasant were GONE. We ate in a nice place and they told us that you use to be unable to get to the bar during this time of year (Early Nov 2019). There was nobody in the place. We went too Huron where we use to have awesome hunting. The farmer said the same thing. The birds are gone. We went to Winner SD. They said the same thing. The birds are gone. This retired farmer said he had seen the pheasants survive all weather conditions. He said he thinks that some type of SPRAY is being used and destroying to pheasants. I think an investigation needs to take place to look into this. Hopefully this isalreadymtaking place? I doubt it though. Politics again? Lobbyist? The cancelation of the spring bird count is to con the out of state hunters to come to South Dakota and spend money when the Pheasants are GONE. It is just SAD. Don’t lie to hunters. If the birds are gone tell them. Above all, investigate why THE BIRDS ARE GONE and fix it! Sincerely Randy Sawyer Glenwood Springs Colorado.

    Randy Sawyer June 9, 2020 12:06 PM

  • Every year we look forward to the bird count information and I agree seems like a cover up for 2020. Out of state hunters need this information to plan hunts. We have been going to SD for 25 years, the last couple of years have been way down, but we still came and found a few good spots in 2019. Advertising false information will upset hunters that have to travel--we come from Michigan and one year we has state reports from Kansas that the birds were good only to find out it was terrible- been 8 years will not go back to states that provide no information..in the long run this could really hurt South Dakota--please tell the truth on the bird count and let us decide--

    Mike Arcari June 26, 2020 12:06 PM

  • I quit putting any belief in the count awhile ago as it has seemed “off” for years. In 2019 for instance, an area that looked bird less according to the count had birds everywhere, but also didn’t have many places to spend out of state money. Coincidence probably. Until you notice it year after year. It’s no secret the 10 year state wide bird numbers are down. And the count probably encourages or deters the new comers or the casual hunters which make up a good percentage of the revenue. But it would be criminal to use the money saved for anything other than farmer incentives and/or putting the money back into bird habitat. Forget advertising!! If you have a good product you don’t need to advertise.

    James Bechtel June 29, 2020 12:06 PM

  • The discontinuing of the count is terrible. I agree completely that there should be a truthful count as well as the formula used for winter weather and nesting/hatching weather to help an accurate prediction. The comment that yearly 700,000 dollars should be used for habitat improvement and farmer incentives instead of advertising is spot on.

    Bob Mott July 3, 2020 12:07 PM

  • I’m an out of state hunter and have been coming to hunt pheasants each October for over 30 years. While the bird population has had its ups and downs over the years, the reality is that numbers the last two years have been the worst IN A GENERATION BY FAR. The idea to discontinue the singular meaningful source of information on regional birds counts is absurd. Do these politicians think you can ignore reality and bring in hunters through marketing glitz? My guess is another dramatic decline in out of state hunters again thus year. It will take the state a long time to recover this revenue source, if ever, and it will only happen if wildlife officials can explain the massive decline in numbers and take action to reverse it—and then publish those results through ANNUAL BROOD SURVEYS once again.

    Tom Howatt July 15, 2020 12:07 PM

  • I agree that eliminating the count is ridiculous. It is all about habitat for birds and access to hunt. If you are short on either one you don’t have a product to market to hunters and their dogs. SD may be get hunters to come back once or twice with poor bird numbers, but in the end, we will decide it isn’t worth going any longer despite any marketing they do.

    Jim Mustonen July 15, 2020 12:07 PM

  • Spending money on advertising a shrinking resource to attract more hunters vs spending money producing more pheasant? Really? Did you got your head? Or do the pay to hunt places OWN YOUR SOUL? To call the action dumb is just too simple. It is about greed!

    Tom McCormick August 3, 2020 12:08 PM

  • Money could be spent a lot wiser on habitat and access to birds Perhaps lower the price of out of state hunters instead of raising them. The cost for two five day permits plus lodging ,gas and food is very expensive hen the bird counts have been so low Perhaps extend the days for out of staters or lower license fees If the bird count is good and the weather is tollerable hunters will always come. Advertising is not necessary . With social media hunters will know counts quickly

    Tom Heiman August 3, 2020 12:08 PM

  • I have been hunting the same private land west of Aberdeen for I believe 16 yrs. The last 3 yrs have been very poor. I relied on the Brood count every year and now the South Dakota has stopped this practice. Will I go to SD this year ? I sincerely doubt it. I have seen each year the last 3/4 yrs the number of hunters drop. Just stop at Cabelas and it tells the story of the limited number of birds. We know the birds are up and down but when it is way down for years the state will not get "any" hunters in the state with zero information of brood count. Respectfully J. Will (Michigan)

    James Will August 29, 2020 12:08 PM

  • This story has been stolen and published without permission from the Mitchell Republic newspaper in Mitchell, S.D. It needs to be taken down immediately.

    Luke Hagen August 31, 2020 12:08 PM

  • Its all about the pay to hunt places. they don't want more money spent on habitat, because then fewer people will pay them to hunt. I will visit this fall because my roots are in SD and I still have family there. But I probably won't pay for a license and hunt.

    John Hamak September 11, 2020 12:09 PM

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