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Farmers can generate an additional income from hosting pheasant hunts on their land. Some farmers have even taken the unusual step to call themselves pheasant farmers.

This isn’t to say that they have abandoned common crops and farm animals. In fact, many still earn the majority of their income from these staple business avenues. However, farmers do know that hunters need land and pheasants to hunt. Farmers have both of these.

These farmers are looking to make every inch count by breeding pheasants naturally and allowing hunters on the land during the pheasant hunting season. This should be welcome news to many; not least to those who are worried about the continuing decline in the local and national pheasant populations.

South Dakota is an excellent location for farmers to offer pheasant hunting opportunities because the state, in general, has one of the best habitats for the bird. Yet, in recent years there has been a significant decline in that habitat, which is why opportunities to hunt on good land is tempting to many hunters.

This used to be common place when the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was active. But in recent years there has been a decline in the number of farmers enrolling land in the scheme.

Those who are still setting aside ideal habitats for the bird are benefiting from good profits. Some farms are able to generate 10% of their income from pheasant hunting by charging hunters $300 per day for a guided hunting trip. Part of this fee is to help establish good pheasant feeding fields. According to some farmers, for this to work, for each field set aside for pheasants has to contain at least $1000 worth of pheasants.

That isn’t so hard. Farmers report that with the right conditions, this strategy can produce a sustainable group of pheasants with many breeding age birds. Some farmers estimate that about 90% of the birds in their fields are of breeding age. This compares favorably to commercially raised pheasants that are released to be hunted and often don’t survive their first winter.

Have you hunted on a farmers land this season? What are your experiences?

Let us know in the comments below.

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