South Dakota Game Fish and Parks to discontinue annual pheasant survey

South Dakota News

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The annual Game, Fish and Parks pheasant survey was planned for Aug. 1-15, however, this year it won’t be happening.

“During the process of building a pheasant hunting marketing campaign, including the review of the brood survey and the impact on participation when the message indicates lower pheasant numbers, and the fact the survey did not fit within the marketing approach, the department recommended to not conduct the survey,” GF&P Wildlife Division Director Tom Kirschenmann said.

The GF&P announced on Friday, June 5, that it will discontinue the annual survey.

The main concern for the GF&P is when pheasant brood numbers are down. The numbers then deter residents and nonresidents from buying licenses.

The survey is used to help attract people to buy a license, according to the GF&P.

Even if there are lower numbers, the GF&P says, “South Dakota still remains the best destination for pheasant hunting in the country.”

“Data from this survey is not used to manage the pheasant population or to set season structure and bag limits,” said Kelly Hepler, Department Secretary for GF&P. “The research and data presented in the marketing plan represent the better opportunity to increase participation in pheasant hunting, both for residents and nonresidents of all ages.”

The GF&P is unsure if the decision on a pheasant population survey will change after this year.

Despite the discontinuation of the pheasant survey, the GF&P says that there is no shortage of pheasants in the state.

“If ever there was a year to conduct this survey, this is it,” GF&P Commissioner Russell Olson said. “We’ve had great weather this spring, no major storms and things are looking excellent. This goes to show we have nothing to hide by discontinuing the survey at this time. We’re operating a business here, and our decisions need to reflect that.”

The resident only pheasant season opener is on Oct. 10-12. The full season opener is Oct. 17 and runs through Jan. 3, 2021.

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