Dakota Country Magazine October 2016 Edition - Page 97

Pheasant hunters anxious for season Despite downturn in population estimates, optimism prevails Dakota Country Staff Report P heasant hunters in the Dakotas found the reduction in recent brood and roadside counts disturbing. Although the news was not be highly unexpected, hunters had hoped for better results in light of another mild winter in the Dakotas, along with favorable nesting conditions. However, poor habitat and dryness in many areas, while allowing a profitable production, offered the chicks limited survival opportunities. “I don’t know… I was disappointed, but I think it’ll be okay,” said veteran hunter Monte Kass of Sioux Falls, who trips to Huron and Pierre each fall for the season. “We might have to work a little bit harder, but it certainly GR A B INGER ’ S MA R I NE New 2017 Crestliner Models Now Arriving! Check out the all new LARSON FX Series Fishing Boats! CLOSEOUT PRICING! • Larson 1850 WT with 200 Verado • 1850 Crestliner Sport Fish 150 hp • 1700 Crestliner Vision 90 hp • Cypress Cay Cabana with 150 hp isn’t going to keep us at home. We know better. We know there will be birds.” Kass has been hunting pheasants ardently for nearly 20 years, and said he doesn’t plan on slowing down in light of negative production reports. “We have our places to hunt and we have good dogs, so I’m not really concerned too much about the whole thing,” he said. It’s the “average” guy, though, who may experience more-thanusual difficulty. When it’s a case of “pheasants everywhere”, hunters from all abilities prosper. When times are tough, those who are accustomed to “winging it” (no pun intended), have a tougher time. There’s something else. Biologists who make these surveys are quick to point out that they’re not an overall indication of the condition of the population. It’s merely a survey, they say. It has an error margin, of sorts. However, like weather forecasters of late, with modern technology advanced as it is, the information garnered from these surveys, which has been conducted for decades, is a reliable indicator. It’s a complicated issue. Conservation Reserve is (was) a marvelous boon for wildlife, not to mention numerous side bene- fits like improved water quality in lakes and streams, reduced soil erosion, a reduction in CO2 and less chemicals applied to crops. Hunters are strongly encouraged, say biologists, scientists, conservationists, government officials and many in the ag community, to speak loudly to Congress to bring the CRP program back to its peak of the 1990s. It’s economically, culturally and scientifically sound. Equally important, farmers and ranchers are lined up waiting to participate in the program, just as they were when it began in 1985. For now, those in charge predict the harvest of Chinese ring-necked pheasants in the Dakotas will be similar to last year, perhaps slightly downward. Those numbers are fairly strong, indicating good numbers of birds, considering the conditions. Compared to the long term average, that still represents a pretty good season. • GETTYSBURG INN AND SUITES Hometown Hospitality Welcome Sportsmen! Sales & Service (701) 252-4824 Jamestown North Dakota! www.dakotacountrymagazine.com Fax: (605) 765-2615 719 E Hiway 212 Gettysburg, South Dakota www.gettysburginnandsuites.com (605) 765-2373 Dakota Country, October 2016, Page 97