Real bad news for South Dakota’s wild pheasants…

Bye, Bye, Bird Cover. From John Pollman's piece Big Changes on the Prairie
Bye, Bye, Bird Cover. From John Pollman’s piece Big Changes on the Prairie

Iowa used to have some of the best pheasant hunting in the world. Today, the bird’s numbers have collapsed to the second lowest number on record.

While the disappearance of these birds is caused by a number of factors, the biggest  is habitat loss. As more land goes under the plow, there are fewer places for the pheasants.

This same phenomenon is now underway in South Dakota. In his post Big Changes on the Prairie, writer John Pollmann talks about what he’s seeing in his home state and how it’s laying waste to what used to be one of the greatest places in the world to hunt wild birds. If you care about hunting wild birds, I encourage you to read the excerpt  below and click through to the rest of his piece.

Big Changes on the Prairie

“The majority of South Dakota lies covered in snow these days – welcome precipitation for a state that has been locked in a drought for more than a year.

I count myself among most South Dakotans who enjoy having snow around, as long as it stays in one place. Those moments are fleeting however, as our big prairie sky is almost always producing a big prairie wind. Give us all a day or two of blowing snow, and we soon begin to long for spring.

Invariably, when South Dakota is gripped by a frozen blast of cold and snow, my mind drifts to those pioneers who settled this land in the latter half of the 19th century. How did they make it through the winter on a treeless prairie? And when those first warm southerly breezes arrived in March, what possessed them to stay?

The U.S. Government was probably thinking the same thing when it doled out land to those individuals from around the world who took advantage of the Homestead Act and other land acts. Part of the agreement was that for a 160 acre claim, a person had to work the land, build a house and live on the homestead  for five years.”  Read the rest here.