Skip to main content

'Pheasant capital of the world' sees major habitat decline

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Unfavorable weather and habitat loss in recent years caused a 64 percent drop in South Dakota's pheasant population, the lowest since the 1970s.

Thousands of people from all over the world flock to South Dakota each year for pheasant hunting season, which opens on Saturday at noon.

Pheasant numbers are about half of what they were five years ago, Mike Stephenson, a regional representative of Pheasants Forever, told KELO-TV.

Stephenson says the habitat loss is largely due to farmers putting back their Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage back into crop production.

Now, there a fewer than 1 million CRP acres in South Dakota, down from more than 1.5 million acres at one point.

"I’ve spent a lot of time on the prairie, 41 years, and I have never seen the conversion in the large scale landscape that has occurred in North and South Dakota,” John Cooper, retired Department of Game Fish and Parks official, told the Argus Leader.

The newspaper points out the summer-long drought in 2012 and the wet spring also hurt breeding.

If nothing is done to restore the populations, the state is at risk of losing a $223 million economic boost from tourism the season brings each year.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard will host a summit in December to discuss enhancing the state's pheasant habitat.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 11.43.15 AM

Deputies fatally shoot man in Wright County

Police claim the man, who had allegedly been experiencing a mental health crisis, was armed with a knife.

Ambulance hospital emergency

17-year-old killed in northern Minnesota crash Saturday

The other drive involved in the crash, a 75-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.

ATV

Alcohol a factor as driver rolls ATV into corn field, injuring 3

The crash occurred in Lake Lillian Saturday night.

Minneapolis police

Man dies after being found shot at Minneapolis' 38th and Chicago

Responders were called to the scene early Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 6.34.12 AM

7 children arrested after 'disturbance' at Cabela's, escape in stolen vehicle

Employees called police saying the children were stealing goods from the store.

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

kim crockett facebook sos

GOP nominee questions if those with disabilities, non-English speakers should be able to vote

Crockett made the comments in a 2020 radio interview following a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Pharmacy

Jury: MN pharmacist did not violate woman's rights by refusing her morning-after pill

Gender Justice, the advocacy group that brought about the lawsuit, says it will appeal the decision.

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 3.03.13 PM

Revival to close its original Minneapolis restaurant

Don't worry – it's bringing the chicken to its nearby BBQ joint.

Related