Is South Dakota the next Pennsylvania?

Back in the late 1960’s, Pennsylvania was the South Dakota of pheasant hunting. Sportsman harvested over million pheasants a season from this eastern state and in 1971 over 1.3 million of them were taken by Pennsylvania hunters. But by the mid 1990s these numbers had crashed and fewer than 255,000 pheasants were being killed a year.

South Dakota, 2012
South Dakota, 2012

In 2006, South Dakota hunters killed over two million pheasants. I hunted out there last fall and while the birds numbers are down, there were still plenty of pheasants around. But this may not be the case in the future.

StarTribune reporter Dennis Anderson filed this story on changes going on in ┬áSouth Dakota and how these changes are impacted one of America’s favorite upland birds. Here’s an excerpt:

“Anyone who thinks South Dakota can continue to produce the pheasants, ducks and other wildlife it has in the past just doesn’t know what’s going on here. You’re quite possibly witnessing the end of an era. Some of the nation’s last, best prairies and potholes are going away.” Read the full article now.