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Drought’s Impact on Pheasants in North Dakota and South Dakota

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY
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Hundreds of thousands of bird hunters travel to South Dakota and North Dakota each autumn to hunt roosters. With bird populations on the rise the last few years, coupled with a very mild winter in 2020, anticipation for the season ahead was skyrocketing . . . until a dry spring turned into a summer drought.  Host Bob St.Pierre is joined by Rachel Bush, Pheasants Forever’s state coordinator for North Dakota, and Matt Morlock, PF’s state coordinator for South Dakota, to get an on-the-ground assessment of the drought hitting both states and its impact on pheasant nesting season.  SPOILER ALERT: They are both optimistic for the hunting season to come!

Rachel and Matt, both biologists, provide some scientific perspective on a hen pheasant’s nesting and reproduction “strategies,” and how rain over the 4th of July holiday weekend came just in the nick of time. The group also discuss the likelihood of CRP acres being opened for emergency haying and grazing, and how that is important for farmers, ranchers, habitat managers, and hunters. They also provide some advice for preventing any unwelcomed surprises when hunters pull up to their favorite walk-in property on opening morning this season. Finally, Rachel and Matt discuss the current CRP general signup that is set to close on July 23rd.

Drought’s Impact on Pheasants in North Dakota and South Dakota This article is published in the issue.
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Drought’s Impact on Pheasants in North Dakota and South Dakota

Hundreds of thousands of bird hunters travel to South Dakota and North Dakota each autumn to hunt roosters. With bird populations on the rise the last few years, coupled with a very mild winter in 2020, anticipation for the season ahead was skyrocketing . . . until a dry spring turned into a summer drought.  Host Bob St.Pierre is joined by Rachel Bush, Pheasants Forever’s state coordinator for North Dakota, and Matt Morlock, PF’s state coordinator for South Dakota, to get an on-the-ground assessment of the drought hitting both states and its impact on pheasant nesting season.  SPOILER ALERT: They are both optimistic for the hunting season to come!

Rachel and Matt, both biologists, provide some scientific perspective on a hen pheasant’s nesting and reproduction “strategies,” and how rain over the 4th of July holiday weekend came just in the nick of time. The group also discuss the likelihood of CRP acres being opened for emergency haying and grazing, and how that is important for farmers, ranchers, habitat managers, and hunters. They also provide some advice for preventing any unwelcomed surprises when hunters pull up to their favorite walk-in property on opening morning this season. Finally, Rachel and Matt discuss the current CRP general signup that is set to close on July 23rd.

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