News By Month > October 2015

October 8, 2015

With Rooster Rush right around the corner, hunters should be excited about the increase in bird numbers and potential for a successful hunting season, provided you’re a good shot!

The statewide Pheasants Per Mile (PPM) index for the 2015 pheasant brood survey increased 42% (2.68 to 3.80) compared to the 2014 index. More roosters, hens and broods were counted throughout the 109 survey routes, with the average brood size increasing by 3.5%. Specific to the Huron area PPM increased 38% (2.92 to 4.02).

Hunters should have many chances to get their limit in the James River Valley where there are excellent numbers from the broad regions surrounding Mitchell, Huron, to Aberdeen.

“The favorable winter and spring weather conditions for the second consecutive year contributed strongly to another large increase in pheasants per mile,” stated Kelly Hepler, Game Fish and Parks Secretary. “This year’s population index is more than double the 2014 level when hunters harvested just under one million pheasants. Although the index continues to lag behind the 10 year average due to the extremely high counts from 2005 through 2010, a second straight year of substantial gains in the index is great news for our hunting community.”

With 1.1 million acres of public hunting land within the heart of SD’s pheasant range, opportunities remain for high quality pheasant hunting. The annual hunting atlas and a web-based interactive map of public lands and private lands leased for public hunting can be found at In addition to printed and interactive maps, hunters can utilize GPS downloads and smartphone applications to locate public hunting lands throughout the state.

While the number of roosters counted increased 42% from last year statewide, the number of hens counted increased 35% from last year, indicating another increase for 2016. With the pheasant abundance increasing sharply overall during the past two years improved hunting is in our future.

Hunters are, again, asked to hunt safely and ethically, respect private landowners and those public hunting areas. Enjoy this South Dakota tradition of hunting and eating our State Bird! And, most of all, make memories to last a lifetime.

Last Modified: 10-8-2015-14:15:32


South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Resources