Hunters in area have a successful weekend
– Katie Zerr –
The opening weekend of pheasant season for was successful in north central South Dakota, according to hunters and the South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks.
With the higher numbers of pheasants in the 2012 brood count survey conducted by the GF&P, hunters are seeing more birds in Walworth, Campbell, Dewey and Corson counties.
Hunters Tim and Lori Pawelski of North Branch, Minn., said they had to work a little harder for birds, but they were seeing a lot of pheasants on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday, the birds were a little more difficult for the hunters to find.
“We had an average of about two birds per hunter,” said South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks Conservation Officer Doug DeLaRoi. “The birds seem to be a little flighty and the hunters had a hard time getting up on them.”
He said the hunters he talked to in the area were seeing good numbers of birds, but had to work more than one spot to get the wiley ringnecks.
“They seem to be concentrating more where there is a water source,” said DeLaRoi. “In the nice weather, they are out in the stubble fields looking for food, but that could change depending on the what the colder weather brings with it this coming weekend.”
The forecast for next weekend is for the temperatures to drop into the 30s for daytime highs and the teens overnight.
The statewide pheasant population was up 18 percent from last year according to this summer’s brood count. Because of this year’s drought, both cropland and grassland habitat for the birds has decreased from recent years.
Because of the very dry conditions, farmers and ranchers were allowed to cut hay and graze livestock on many acres in the Conservation Reserve Program.
With the dry conditions that persist across most of the state nearly all crops have been harvested.
This year, the birds had to resort to hiding in sloughs, grassy patches and shelterbelts, making them easier to find in many areas of the state.