Sustaining All Natural Wild Pheasants
A natural pheasant population has thrived on this family land since 1929. No pen raised, no transplanted, no incubated, no released pheasants, Ever!
Survival is the pheasant’s constant concern. Threats from predators overhead (hawks and eagles), predators on the ground (fox and coyote), nest raiders (skunk, opossum, raccoon, snakes, cattle), weather (blizzards, floods, drought), farm machines (disk, plow, drill, cultivator, harvester, and more) make pheasant life precarious. By mitigating as many threats as possible, a thriving wild pheasant population can coexist with modern, efficient food production.
Overhead threats are mitigated by providing dense cover (tall grass, shrubs, trees), ground threats by distributing nesting and roosting over large areas making predators work harder to find their next meal. Weather risks are minimized by habitat that blocks bitter cold wind (shelter belts, tall dense kochia) that keeps pheasants warm and dry. Farm management practices are key to all natural wild pheasant propagation. Park the disk and the plow, utilize minimum disturbance drills and planters, and harvesters that leave tall upright crop residue. Integrate crop rotations that enhance the natural habitat.
A pheasant that from hatch to adulthood with only its mother hen and great habitat for protection gets smart or dies. Average lifespan is 3 years.
A pheasant that from hatch to adulthood lived under netting and secure from ground predators and furnished wholesome feed every day is helpless against natural hazards. Mortality can be 80% within 30 days of release.
The challenge is to bag your state authorized daily limit out of the thousands of South Dakota wild pheasants you will see. Can you outwit these wily birds that have highly developed evasion strategies. The challenge will bring you back again and again.