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It was a good season for pheasant hunting in South Dakota. The late season was strong and the birds have been flying throughout the last couple months.

But is there bad news on the horizon?

It seems that in the mind of some the pheasant boom in South Dakota could be coming to an end. In fact, things could get so bad in the future that South Dakota could turn into the next Iowa. The Midwestern state suffered a loss of 81% of its pheasant population this season from the average of the last four decades. It was a huge drop and now South Dakota seems to be taking a similar path.

Much of the change in Iowa came over time. The last decade has seen a boom in the corn business. Farmers have been doing everything they could with any kind of land to grow corn, soybeans and other crops. The prices have been high and in order to stay afloat with revenue the farmers tore down the pheasant habitat in favor of better cropland.

The same thing appears to be happening in South Dakota and the projection is for things to only get worse. Farmers are cutting out the brushy areas to make room for cornfields. The trend is growing as the corn is paying the bills now more than ever.

The last two decades have been a boon for landowners and others in South Dakota. The pheasant boom has brought tons of recognition to the state as the best place to hunt pheasant in the world.

There were government programs that encouraged the creation and maintenance of pheasant habitat. Those programs no longer appear to be enough to maintain the status quo.

Things always change in life, but will the pheasant hunting tradition in South Dakota be one of them?

Hopefully things turn around in the near future because it looks like change is already coming.

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