Helped by a mild winter and good spring nesting weather, South Dakota’s pheasant population is up 18 percent from last year, based on the August roadside survey.
“The mild winter of 2011-12 was the boost we needed for pheasant survival and reproductive potential,” said Jeff Vonk, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.
Still, the population in some areas remain well below the 10-year averages. In the Huron area, for example, the pheasants-per-mile count was up 38 percent from 2011, but still down 49 percent from the 10-year average.
The Aberdeen area is up 51 percent from last year, but remains 41 percent below the 10-year average.
Still, the news is encouraging. About 20,000 Minnesota pheasant hunters head to South Dakota each fall.
“Pheasant hunting will be good across most of the state, with the traditional pheasant range once again providing excellent hunting opportunities,” Vonk said. “More than 1.5 million pheasants were harvested last year.’’
Meanwhile, Minnesota’s annual roadside pheasant survey results are expected to be released Sept. 4.