posted on March 11, 2016 02:06
The results from the beginning of the South Dakota pheasant season are looking good. The number of hunters and the pheasant harvest has increased. This has led to a boost in the local economy, far greater than has been seen in the last couple of years.
One aspect that is doing particularly well is the sale of non-resident license sales. During October, 4,200 non-resident licenses were sold. This is a jump of approximately 10% over last year. The small-game license costs $121.
The sales for non-resident small game licenses, as of October 27 were 47,264. At the same point last year, the sales were 43,013.
The increase in numbers is likely a result of state biologists reporting that they had observed a pheasant population increase during their roadside surveys in August. These surveys counted the number of birds and broods that could be seen on specific routes. According to the survey results, numbers were up 42% from the figures recorded in 2014.
Another boost to the numbers could be from the upswing that the pheasant population experienced last year. Good pheasant hunting times often lead to an increase in hunters the next year.
However, these figures aren’t all good. The figure is still 30% lower than the 10 year average and pheasant populations still haven’t recovered after years of habitat loss. In 2007, the number of non-residents licenses sold peaked at 103,231. The 100,000 mark was broken again in 2008 and 2010.
One area that hasn’t done so well is Mitchell. Hunters have had concerns that late August spraying may have eliminated the bugs in the area that the broods rely upon. This may have caused brood survival rates to be lower in this area than in others.
Have you been pheasant hunting yet this season? What have your results been?
Let us know in the comments below.