2019 brood report

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Sometimes it's out by the end of August. My guess......with what should be a pretty darn good year for pheasants, I'll bet the report shows no change or maybe even a drop. The reason: so much cover around. There's more of it due to unplanted fields, & the weeds/grass are twice as tall as usual due to all the rain. But....regardless, it's not a good short-term indication of what's happening with pheasant populations anyway. I'm interested in the report only because it's info about pheasants. But when you study it & compare it to post-season reports (equally valid data), the brood report is only worthwhile as an indicator of long-term population trends.
 
Cautiously optimistic. Prime nesting season weather looked good and am thinking that the areas not planted (if left fallow) could actually improve the brood rearing cover. Just my observation but it really feels like the biggest issue with habitat in the upper Midwest right now is limited brood rearing cover and the need for some bare ground, plant diversity and insect production next to the nesting cover. I think this is why the pollinator parcels can have such a positive impact on localized bird numbers.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Just my observation but it really feels like the biggest issue with habitat in the upper Midwest right now is limited brood rearing cover and the need for some bare ground, plant diversity and insect production next to the nesting cover.
Bang! I agree with your thoughts, especially as they pertain to eastern SD public land (GPAs & WPAs). They have great winter cover, but by & large, not good nesting cover. In general, privately owned Walk-In Areas & CREP acres have significantly better nesting cover.
 

0918style

New member
By everything I’m seeing, looks like there is still a lot of water in the fields. Anyone know about the south eastern part of the state around Pickstown?
 
Not a road side survey but a friend of mine west river said he is seeing a lot of young birds while working the farm. Some are late hatch and small birds others are good size from earlier hatches. Either way seeing a lot of young pheasants.
 

0918style

New member
I know when I was out there last year around Thanksgiving there was a lot of standing corn. I figured there were a lot of birds that survived due to miserable hunting conditions with all the water and such. Maybe a lot of 2 year old birds left from last year but I don’t know what impact the flooding has had on pheasant broods or numbers. I know a lot of hunters struggled for their birds early at least til after thanksgiving. Idk as far as the number of bird hunters that come to the state after then. I’m sure it slows down but idk how much. I’m hoping for a better hunt than last year but from what I’ve gathered may need a pontoon this year. I’m hoping for the best nevertheless and will make the trip regardless. A wet day in the field is better than a dry day at home.
 
All the rain has been tough for farmers but great for birds. Many fields that were unplanted are now great brood rearing areas. Also allowed the hens to spread out and not concentrate nesting areas which reduces predation. The water also produces bugs and dew for the young birds. Going to be a great season. We hunt in Oct and Dec. Very few hunters in Dec.
 

Matt D

Member
Talked with a couple contacts in SD yesterday and today. Their opinions were similar numbers to last year. Rain continues to fall and wheat harvest that should have been done week or two ago is still going. Spring wheat harvest not started yet. No hail in the areas we hunt but as close as 3 miles away so lucky there for the farmers. Should be within a couple weeks of roadside counts getting published. Will be interesting.
 

2setters

New member
I understand that S. Dakota releases birds. Does any one know when that happens. For the first time in about 50 years they are going to release birds here in Michigan. Just wondering how far in advance of the season opener they can be released and still except a good survival rate foe the birds.
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
I understand that S. Dakota releases birds. Does any one know when that happens. For the first time in about 50 years they are going to release birds here in Michigan. Just wondering how far in advance of the season opener they can be released and still except a good survival rate foe the birds.
This has been discussed on this site many times in the past. Once and for all, the State of South Dakota (Game, Fish & Parks) does not release pheasants.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
This has been discussed on this site many times in the past. Once and for all, the State of South Dakota (Game, Fish & Parks) does not release pheasants.
Correct, once & for all, SD GF&P does NOT release pheasants.

But....some private land owners do. And any place that operates as a "preserve" has to by law. I think they have to release at least 600 roosters per year, or as many as get shot, whichever is more.

Also, some other organizations (habitat groups, etc.) release birds to promote youth hunting & things like that. I honestly don't know if they're allowed to release them onto public land.

In almost 40 years of hunting public land in SD (probably right around 1,000 days hunting), I've shot only 3 birds that have been pen-raised. All in the same spot (a WPA near Ramona) in 2 consecutive days. They were tagged & released by a group in Madison to try to get kids out to hunt. That particular dog, while a very aggressive hunter, was not an aggressive killer. So he didn't catch any of those 3, but very nearly. There was a substantial foot chase on each one before they finally flew. Briefly.
 
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Release birds same morning of hunt for best results. Pen raised birds have no survival instinct and will not survive very long typically. Also expect your retriever to catch most of them. Last time I trained my lab on pen raised birds at a preserve my dog caught all 10 pheasants. It was a sad state of affairs, as I had to get him to drop the birds then throw them in the air to get them to fly for my 10 year old to shoot. Pen raised birds are better then nothing but don't expect it to be like hunting wild birds.
 

Matt D

Member
Talked to another farmer today and his opinion for his area is better numbers than the last two years. Roadside report should be out within a week or so.
 
Talked to another farmer today and his opinion for his area is better numbers than the last two years. Roadside report should be out within a week or so.
That's very good news!
I'm hoping the report comes out any day now.....it came out last year on Aug 27.
 
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