posted on November 11, 2013 18:39
Many states have seen lower pheasant numbers this year, and South Dakota is no exception. Experts identified a 64% drop in the amount of pheasants compared to last year. While there were 4.19 pheasants per mile in the state in 2012, there isn’t be more than about 1.5 this season.
A cold, wet spring, grouped with last year’s drought and a decreasing amount of upland bird habitat, are what caused this year’s lower numbers.
Even with what seems like a considerable dip in the amount of pheasants, hunters from all over are still flocking to one of the most prevalent upland bird hunting areas in the country. Most hotels and hunting lodges in South Dakota are booked full.
Many local hotel managers attribute the strong showing of hunters to the great tradition that pheasant hunting in South Dakota holds. People go for the experience and the chance to hunt in a landscape that they don’t see every day.
Over the years, these hotel managers have recognized that it doesn’t necessarily matter how many birds are out there. Hunters come to hunt because that’s what they love to do. If they had a good experience the previous year, they’ll probably be back to stay at the same lodges and hunt in the same fields.
One hotel manager in particular commented that she knows several hunters who fly in from Florida and Georgia on a year-to-year basis to hit the fields on opening day. Many hunters book rooms a year in advance to make sure they have an opportunity to experience the mystique of an opening day hunt.
While a lot of places are already full for the entire season, there is still some availability for later in the season. These managers stress that if you plan on visiting, booking early in the summer to ensure availability.