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South Dakota Pheasant Hunting–One of the Best in the U.S.


The ring-necked pheasant is the state bird of South Dakota, and fittingly so; the Asian native has taken to South Dakota as if it were indigenous to the area. The bird was successfully introduced to the state in 1908 after previous attempts proved unsuccessful, and, although the pheasant is thought of as the all-American bird, it was not given a place in John James Audubon’s book, Audubon's Birds of America because of its Asian origin. The successful growth of the pheasant population in South Dakota over the past century has made South Dakota pheasant hunting the best in the country.

The Black Hills is the only area of South Dakota where pheasants are not found, and the south-central region is where most of the birds are located. South Dakota consistently reports the largest numbers of pheasants in the United States and is a magnet for hunters wanting to experience South Dakota pheasant hunting. The state offers the various habitats pheasants need to thrive. Woodlands and brushy thickets are necessary in the winter to provide shelter from snow and wind, with wetland cover also offering winter protection. These habitats also protect the birds from predators. In the spring grassland habitat is needed for hen pheasants to build and maintain nests. Areas in which more than half the land is farmed attract large numbers of pheasants, which get most of their diet from grain left on the ground, and nearby gravel roads provide the grit the birds need to break up and digest their food. Regions where these favorable conditions exist together are the best for South Dakota pheasant hunting.

Habitat is vital to increasing and sustaining high pheasant populations and ensuring the continued success of South Dakota pheasant hunting. High pheasant losses in winter, about 65% to 75%, could be lessened if more food and shelter were available. As in other pheasant hunting states, more intensive farming methods have caused the pheasant population to decline. There is now less grain on the ground for food, and chemicals have also taken a toll. Pesticides kill insects needed by the young birds, the weeds and brushy cover the pheasants require have been eliminated, and nitrate fertilizers can poison the birds. Unfortunately, when the pheasant population dips, and so does South Dakota pheasant hunting, with serious consequences for the state economy.

South Dakota pheasant hunting provides a huge economic boost to the state. In 2005, pheasant hunting brought in over 153 million dollars. As important as hunting is, to South Dakota it is important to create and maintain high quality habitat that can support the pheasant population needed to bring hunters into the state. To guarantee the continued success of pheasant hunting state agencies as well as groups such as Pheasants Forever are working to ensure that South Dakota pheasant hunting remains a viable, successful sport for future generations.

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Whitman County Pheasant Hunting News

Cleve A. Williams - Corvallis Gazette Times

Corvallis Gazette Times

Cleve A. Williams
Corvallis Gazette Times
Cleve attended Columbia Preparatory School in Portland, and graduated with a bachelor's degree from Whitman College in Washington, where he was on the football team. ... Some of Cleve's favorite things were Steen's Mountain, coaching youth football and ...


State proposes Whitman County land acquisition - The Spokesman Review (blog)

The Spokesman Review (blog)

State proposes Whitman County land acquisition
The Spokesman Review (blog)
WILDLIFE -- The state may acquire a 94-acre parcel in the Palouse grasslands to help assure mule deer, pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse and other wildlife have a corridor connecting with other protected habitats in Whitman County. The Washington ...


Tough times for upland birds - The Spokesman Review

The Spokesman Review

Tough times for upland birds
The Spokesman Review
Put-and-take hunting at pheasant release sites on state and federal lands seem to be emphasized in prospect reports by the Fish and Wildlife Department even though the agency has been gradually reducing the number of roosters released for hunters ...


Pheasants losing ground in Eastern Washington - The Columbian

The Columbian

Pheasants losing ground in Eastern Washington
The Columbian
However, put-and-take hunting on release sites owned by the state or federal governments is becoming a bigger part of the pheasant picture in Eastern Washington. Thousands of roosters will be released this fall in several eastside ... Pheasants will be ...

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Eastern Washington hunting prospects bright - The Spokesman Review

The Spokesman Review

Eastern Washington hunting prospects bright
The Spokesman Review
Pheasant crow counts (number of males during spring breeding season) were down this year 7 percent below the four-year average across Spokane, Lincoln, Columbia, Garfield, Walla Walla and Whitman counties. However, counts on the Parvin and St.

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