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Declining Numbers Don’t Support South Dakota’s Pheasant Propaganda

South Dakota News Watch catches up with my notes on the happy face South Dakota state government is trying to put on the long-declining pheasant-hunting industry. In an unusually brief and anomalously byline-less article, SDNW compiles a variety of the points that counter the state’s marketing-driven cockfoolery:

  1. “[T]he state has no scientific data to support the claim” that Governor Kristi Noem’s much-ballyhooed Nest Predator Bounty Program has “positively influenced” duck and pheasant nest success.
  2. The number of pheasants killed peaked in 2007; the giving hunters 27 more days and two more hours every day to shoot birds in 2020 still produced a pheasant slaughter of about half of the 2007 peak and lower than 26 of the 39 shorter preceding seasons.
  3. The state sold 38% fewer hunting licenses in 2019 than in 2010.
  4. Conservation Reserve Program acreage has dropped from 1.8 million acres in 1994 to 1.1 million in 2019. If you want birds to shoot, you have to preserves places for birds to nest and grow.

Instead of spending money on baseless government propaganda and prizes for skunk tails, South Dakota should spend its money the way the federal government has, on the proven pheasant-boosting policy of habitat conservation.


  1. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-29 15:06

    Well…as in everything that is the responsibility of State Government during the Noem administration, the Governor relies on public relations rather than science and logic to manage our resources.

  2. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-08-29 16:18

    IDGAF about pheasants, and I don’t understand the cult and stupidity surrounding them. I’ve been served pheasant three times since moving to SD and all three were wretched experiences. I guess I was supposed to chew and swallow buckshot and remark about how much I loved sh*tty, mummified game. I ain’t eatin’ nuffin’ no more that has to be soaked in a quart of buttermilk for 72 hours to keep the chef from gagging.

    I think the reason SD loves pheasant hunting so much is because the mystique sells so many Ram 3500s and great big shotguns to so many microscopic dicks. I get very, VERY angry thinking of the badgers, foxes, skunks, raccoons, and other magnificent predators murdered by sociopathic humans. A neighbor shot and killed a raccoon ON MY PROPERTY four years ago, and damned if his huntin’ dawg didn’t go walk about.

  3. mike from iowa 2021-08-29 16:50

    Ate a lot of wild game growing up. Hunted a lot of game growing up. When Ma and Pa and 7 kids needed to eat, wild game was a substitute for beef and pork. Pheasant slow cooked with mushroom soup is delicious. We always made sure to find all the lead pellets before the bird was ever cooked.

    But, Noem and South Dakota aren’t doing their pheasants any favors by foregoing scientific methods proven over time to work and not replacing habitat.

  4. jerry 2021-08-29 18:27

    We always cooked the pheasant for 5.25 hours in mushroom soup. We then tossed out the pheasant and ate the soup, much better.

  5. mike from iowa 2021-08-29 18:57

    I like(d) pheasant, even fried like chicken it was good. So was rabbit and squirrel. Ate a tonne of Muscovy ducks which were excellent table fare. Did not care for wild goose or oysters.

  6. kurtz 2021-08-29 19:17

    The Chinese ring-necked pheasant is a canary in a genetically engineered corn mine living and dying in three quarter time.

  7. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-08-29 19:31

    mike from iowa, I appreciate your comment and all it means. I suspect you’re a tougher person than I, and it probably has a lot to do with how many children our (respective) parents had. Mine had three, and we had the “luxury” of a nineteen acre farm near Clayton, Indiana. We relentlessly farmed and gardened and raised dairy and beef cattle and chickens and my parents also worked in Plainfield, IN, and I started working at Bowman’s Orchard in Belleville, IN, when I was twelve picking up deadfall apples for cider and my family regularly received a bushel of apples. (That sentence was WAY too long, but DON’T DRINK CIDER.)

    I was blessed (in my opinion) to never have to shoot nor eat game animals. I would have eaten alfalfa before that. Even now, even when I can afford commercially raised meat (10 pounds of chicken leg quarters for $4.99) I feed it to my cats, my friend’s cats, and any raccoon or skunk that wanders through my property.

  8. Porter Lansing 2021-08-29 19:34

    Bonnie B Fairbank … Welcome to the blog. You’re most welcome here. Your first impression is a superb one.

  9. Porter Lansing 2021-08-29 19:40

    PS … I agree with Bonnie’s culinary critique of wild pheasants.
    I don’t eat ’em, anymore.
    In the restaurant, I served farm raised pheasant, skin on and oven roasted.
    Much different flavor and texture.

  10. grudznick 2021-08-29 20:59

    Ms. Fairbank, you are indeed a welcomed young lady. In Rapid City, I should warn you, we do not eat chickens for breakfast but we devour vast quantities of chicken eggs. Prepared rightly.

  11. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-08-29 21:33

    I thank both PL and G for those few kind words and I really have no idea how one belongs to a blog, but I’m more worried about New Orleans and Louisiana at this point. B

  12. grudznick 2021-08-29 21:41

    Mr. H. will send you a pin when you’re fully vetted, Ms. Fairbank, and then you will know you truly belong to this blog. Mr. mike is still awaiting his, for he is from Iowa. Mr. Lansing cooked up his own and we all here, in South Dakota, mock him about it.

  13. mike from iowa 2021-08-30 08:42

    Like the late, great Harry Chapin explained in a song about upstate New York, anywhere is a better place to be. Holds true for magat red Northern Mississippi.

    BTW, A Better Place to Be is a nine minute pickup line from the POV of a devious minded old codger wanting a tender young porcine waitress to shag. Reminds me of ol’ gravy taters hisself.

  14. mike from iowa 2021-08-30 08:52

    Bonnie B Fairbank a word of caution before sidling up to Grudzilla. Remember the story of the man who took into his bosom a frozen snake. Just saying.

  15. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-08-30 10:36

    Gotcha, mike. Despite being in her seventh decade, Bonnie is still not sure how to take people whom refer to themselves in the third person.

  16. mike from iowa 2021-08-30 11:13

    Much different flavor and texture. But, not a real pheasant., Porter. Just like farmed catfish or salmon can’t hold a candle to wild, catch yer own catfish and salmon.

    As for third person Grudzilla, he likely has Northern Mississippi red cooties, the worst possible kind.

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-08-30 12:53

    MIke and Arlo are right: if we are trying to foster any wild species, we need to use evidence-based practices. Of course, Bonnie’s experience with pheasant may make some people wonder why we’d bother with pheasants.

  18. mike from iowa 2021-08-30 14:14

    Bonnie, My parents raised 9 kids, 8 into adulthood. When the twins came along 11 years after me, the 2 eldest had left the nest. There are four sibs left and I am the baby of the family, again, at 68 plus.

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