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rundrave

2016 Pheasant Survey

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2016 PHEASANT BROOD SURVEY RESULTS ARE IN

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has completed the annual pheasant brood survey and the results show a 20 percent decrease in the statewide pheasants-per-mile (PPM) index from 2015. The 2016 statewide PPM index is 3.05, down from last year’s index of 3.83.

“After two consecutive years of substantial increases in the statewide PPM index, a slight retreat was observed this year. Of the 110 routes surveyed statewide, 38 showed an increase in PPM while 72 declined from 2015,” stated Kelly Hepler, GFP Secretary. "Weather conditions and available habitat are key factors to pheasant production and annual PPM fluctuations. We want to remind hunters that this year’s index is twice as high as the 2013 index and higher than the 2.7 PPM observed in 2014 when hunters harvested 1.2 million roosters. Good pheasant hunting opportunities will exist in 2016.”

From late July through mid-August, GFP surveyed 110, thirty-mile routes across the state’s pheasant range to estimate pheasant production and calculate the PPM index. The survey is not a population estimate, but rather compares the number of pheasants observed on the routes and establishes trend information. Survey routes are grouped into 13 areas, based on a local city, and the index value of each local city area is then compared to index values of the previous year and the 10-year average.

Survey results indicate the decrease was significant for the Chamberlain, Winner, Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell, Yankton and Sioux Falls areas.

“Habitat continues to be at the forefront of the conversation and still remains a crucial factor in pheasant numbers,” stated Hepler. “Bird numbers are higher in parts of the state where quality habitat conditions still exist, primarily on grasslands including those enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program as well as fields of cereal crops such as winter wheat. We continue to work hard in our Habitat Pays outreach efforts and in cooperation with landowners and partner organizations to provide an improved future for wildlife habitat in our state.”

Public hunting opportunities are abundant in South Dakota. Over 1 million acres of publicly owned and private land leased through GFP’s Walk-In Area Program and the James River Watershed Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is available in the primary pheasant range of South Dakota. The 2016 public hunting atlas and a web-based interactive map of public lands and private lands leased for public hunting can be found online at http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/areas.

“Each year, the results of this survey are highly anticipated by those with a strong interest in South Dakota’s hunting heritage. The availability of pheasants and pheasant hunting opportunities across the state this fall should serve to enhance that tradition,” concluded Hepler.

South Dakota’s traditional statewide pheasant hunting season opens on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, and runs through Jan. 1, 2017.

More details and information on the 2016 Pheasant Brood Route Survey:

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Headed to Redfield on Friday for a private ranch hunt. Numbers were good last year so it will be interesting to see how they compare. It was a mild winter and spring so I am surprised to see the numbers drop that much. 

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lack of habitat is the main factor. Also lots of large hail and heavy rain didn't do the chicks any favors after spring hatch.

I dont think its doom and gloom but just means you have to work a little harder for birds.

If your hunting this Friday, those preserve birds are entirely different animal.....

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Either Saturday or Sunday unless we decide to just fish instead. This place has wild birds not own raised.

This was from a half hour walk in March.

FB_IMG_1472658555300.jpg

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22 minutes ago, PurpleFloyd said:

This place has wild birds not own raised.

If its on a preserve the majority of birds are released onto the property. Thats not to say you wont shoot any wild birds (hard to prevent) but the birds you shoot there are released. Are the birds in your pictures marked, should have a toe clipped or you can tell on the beek?

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I maybe misspoke on the term preserve. They refer to it as a ranch. We did have to pay for a special license to hunt the birds there as it was in March but I believe all the birds were wild and unmarked. We did get a kill tag for every bird. I think they may supplement their wild birds with pen raised birds at times and I don't know all the rules. 

I also hunted a private ranch by Faulkton in the fall and those were wild as well. Great times. 

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Call it a ranch, getaway, lodge, etc I'll agree its a good time but your hunting a large majority of released birds not wild birds. There is a difference trust me. I buy and release birds for training my dogs and been doing so for years. I have been a guest and stayed at similar places and guided at them as well. 

All birds released on the shooting preserve must be marked by either toe clipping or by the enlarged nares from some type of anti-pecking device There is no released bird that can run or act like a wild bird. It cannot be replicated in a controlled environment which is exactly what those preserves are. The preserves are also limited by size,  require a minimum amount of quantities of birds to be released etc. They also follow a different season and larger limits of birds.

Bottom line is they are completely irrelevant to the pheasant survey conducted by the GFP which is what I originally posted about.

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Oh yeah, I apologize if it came across that I was relating our hunting with the roadside surveys. I maybe should have not posted that. Last year was the first time I had gotten a chance to hunt SD after wanting to do it for decades  even though I have been an avid hunter in Minnesota for over 3 decades. I do understand wild vs pen raised birds as I have hunted them in a few of the preserves in this area. You guys have a great state for hunting and pretty much everything else. I didn't mean to try to dispute the report you posted, only to share what was a great experience in your state. Both of the places I hunted were wild birds, not tagged birds. 

Do you guide yet or just hunt?

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11 minutes ago, PurpleFloyd said:

Do you guide yet or just hunt?

I really enjoy hunting when the number of dog legs outnumber the hunter. Which usually is just me and my GSP's. I dont take my dogs hunting, I just get them to the field, from there they take me and I just follow.

I only guide for some charity, or youth things. I am not big on party hunting. There is nothing wrong with it, just not my style or what I train my dogs for. I could care less about shooting birds, but work to hard all year to train and get dogs ready. If I could let the birds go again after a nice point, honor and retrieve I would.

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6 minutes ago, rundrave said:

I really enjoy hunting when the number of dog legs outnumber the hunter. Which usually is just me and my GSP's. I dont take my dogs hunting, I just get them to the field, from there they take me and I just follow.

I only guide for some charity, or youth things. I am not big on party hunting. There is nothing wrong with it, just not my style or what I train my dogs for. I could care less about shooting birds, but work to hard all year to train and get dogs ready. If I could let the birds go again after a nice point, honor and retrieve I would.

We should get together and hunt some time rundrave... I am only 20 min north of you! I am exactly the same way... and have a GSP as well! My perfect day hunting is with myself and one, maybe two other guys... I like to go with atleast one other person so that I can pay all my attention on the dog and less on being ready to shoot. Anything more than 5 people and I won't take my dog out. It is hard to hunt over a pointing dog with a large group - They want to go where the scent takes them, not in the straight line that is being formed!

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2 hours ago, rl_sd said:

We should get together and hunt some time rundrave... 

 Send me a PM closer to the season and maybe we can work something out. Early season its hard for me to get out and I dont like to hunt in the heat etc. But I am stock piling bunch of time off from work and I will be hitting the birds hard once the crops are out and temps are cooler.

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RunDave....question for you. You say the pen raised birds don't factor into the roadside counts. That's something I've always wondered. So do the lodges have to wait to release birds after the surveys are done? I always thought they released some birds in the spring and then again in August as well as throughout the season to suplement what's been shot. If that's the case, how are those birds not getting counted in the survey? It's always seemed convenient that the highest #s in the "Golden Triangle" are also in tbe area of the highest concentration of lodges. 

We hunt public land and road rights of way in the Chamberlain and Winner areas, and 80%+ of the birds we shoot are pen raised, showing the humped beak where you can see through the nostrils from the blinders being on them. Last year my dad even shot one that still had the blinders on and we were at leadt 8 miles from any lodges. 

I wouldn't be the leadt bit surprised if in those areas the survey routes are mapped to go by as many lodge properties as possible to get higher counts.

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I am not saying they are not counted, I am saying when the poster gave a report from a private ranch hunting in the "off season" its irrelevant to hunting reports that I provide on this forum.

If you hunt at a lodge and it releases birds the roadside counts are irrelevant because the birds are going to be on the preserve regardless if there was a successful hatch or not.

And to answer your other question per the SD GFP, all birds on these preserves can only be released from 08/01 through 03/01

There is no doubt that birds are released at these private preserves. Often lots of hens to help yield more hatches etc. But many roosters are released as well. Many lodges are releasing birds throughout the year. But I bet a majority of roosters are released in the early mornings the day of the hunts at these preserves before the sun even comes up.

There are only 110 survey routes in the state, I am sure some run parallel or next to a preserve but I find it unlikely that many do. And notice the dates below relative to dates I used above when the preserves can release birds.

" In 2016, survey indices were derived from 110, 30-mile pheasant brood routes that are distributed across South Dakota where pheasants are found in sufficient number for surveying. Routes are surveyed from 25 July through 15 August each year using standardized methods on mornings when weather conditions are optimal for observing pheasants. Also, pheasant brood members are opportunistically counted throughout the survey period to estimate an average number of young per brood. Pheasants per mile (PPM) estimates are calculated by summing the product of mean brood sizes and broods observed with numbers of cocks and hens observed on each route. PPM estimates for 2015 and the average of the previous 10 years are compared with the 2016 survey results. Results are compared within local areas with Wilcoxon signed-rank tests which take into account the direction (up or down) and magnitude of change for each route. Since PPM estimates are relative density estimates, comparisons are valid only between years within each local area. "

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Thanks much for the info Dave. I plan on talking with others who are hunting public land in the Chamberlain and Winner areas to see if they are harvesting as high a percentage of pen raised birds as we seem to be. I know when I was first shown how to tell the difference we were kind of shocked at how few wild birds we were finding/harvesting.

 

Edited by castmaster

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Well was pleasantly surprised first trip out the last weekend in October. Out of our 30 birds we had 23 wild and only 7 pen raised. Usually it's the opposite, we shoot far more pen raised than wild.

 

This past weeks MN Outdoor News had a pretty good article on SD pheasants. They were saying they estimate as many as 1.2 Million birds are released each year! Just think of what things may look like if that wasn't going on. And with more and more habitat being converted to corn and beans the future probably isn't going to see that change much.

I wonder what if any effect it has on the Wild population. How much interbreeding goes on etc.

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