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Bad news, good news and more good news for pheasant hunters in South Dakota.

The bad news is South Dakota is not new. The pheasant numbers have been down for a few seasons. The crazy weather patterns the last few years have been hurting the wildlife populations including pheasants. This summer’s drought was another example of difficult conditions for the state’s most prized game bird.

The drought this summer followed droughts the last two summers. It’s been difficult for vegetation and cover to grow and the pheasants have been struggling. There has also been pressure on landowners to open up more acres for agricultural crops. The push for beans and corn has been too much for farmers so they’re opening up the more marginal areas where pheasants would normally flourish.

The pheasant numbers are down and so is the number of hunters in the 2013 season. After the first few weeks after the opener the number of hunters has dropped off where in years past it’s been steady for the entire season.

But was good news for the late season hunters.. There was less pressure and fewer hunters in the public fields. And the hunters out in the field are reported pretty good success according to some reports. They were able to fill their limit by mid-afternoon, which is great news.

The other bit of good news is that the weather was pretty good the last half of the season making it easier for hunters to get out in the field.

Even with all the difficulty the last few years, South Dakota pheasant hunting is still relatively strong. There are birds and if hunters and conservationists keep fighting there should be reason to be hopeful for the future.

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