Despite news of a lowered brood count that showed a decrease in the statewide pheasants per mile index, there are many positives when it comes to pheasant hunting in South Dakota.
South Dakota is home to the greatest pheasant hunting opportunities in the country, if not the world. Each year thousands of hunters flock to the state to walk the fields with their family as well as friends both two-legged and four-legged. Communities across the state literally roll out the orange carpet for hunters to make them feel welcome.
A recent editorial in the Aberdeen American News referenced a 2014 Department of Game, Fish and Parks survey of resident and non-resident hunters where pheasant hunters stated that “time spent with friends and family” and the “overall outdoor experience” were the top reasons why they choose to hunt in South Dakota.
Pheasant hunting isn’t just about hunting in South Dakota. Pheasant hunting is a way of life, an economic driver and a livelihood. Most importantly it’s a deep-rooted tradition that has spanned generations.
According to data from the Department of Game, Fish and Parks more than 1 million pheasants have been harvested from the fields of South Dakota in each of the last three years despite varying brood county reports.
The average annual pheasant population in South Dakota over the last 20 years has been 7.4 million birds.
Over the last 20 years, each hunter has walked away with 9.5 birds per hunter, per years.
South Dakota has more than 1.25 million acres of public hunting land, 40,000 of which is located within the core pheasant range of the state.