posted on February 25, 2014 20:47
There has not been a lot of good news recently when it comes to pheasant hunting, especially in the North and South Dakota areas. In some estimates the number of birds has dropped by 68%; however those numbers could have been inaccurate with late roosting hens not included in the count. The drop has been blamed on the weather and the reduction in the land provided for these birds.
Hunters across the two states, and others, have found that areas which were once open to hunting are now no longer available or have been turned into ploughed fields. A sad sight has been the number of signs which state land was open to hunters being piled up at the game and fish offices.
There has also been the ‘big unknown’ that has heavily affected the land which the beloved game birds need to survive – the oil boom.
It has been clear that the effect is taking its toll on hunter numbers as well as the bird’s. This year 25,000 fewer hunter licenses were sold by the Dakota authorities. This is a double blow for the sport as it shows a decrease in the numbers but also a loss in funds which are required for the continued success of the game birds.
Many current hunters state that the decline in the birds has led to a number of 55 to 70 year old hunters now quitting the sport.
These hunters need to be replaced if the sport is to continue to survive. One method is to entice younger generations into joining the sport. Some states have already taken proactive measures to address this with workshops designed to introduce the sport to the next generation.
If it is a success, then at least one area of concern will be addressed and the sport can be given life again. However, pheasant hunting still requires the habitat to be given back to the birds. Without this, the hunter numbers are likely to continue their downward trend.
Do you think that the younger generation can keep the sport going strong? Are you a young hunter who has joined the sporting community recently?
Let us know in the comments below.