Winter of 2019... is it over yet?
Whenever we travel to shows as a vendor, we always get lots of questions about hunting in South Dakota, the weather in South Dakota, how was the previous season and so on. But, the question that comes up the most, is people ask me, what I see for bird numbers right now, how I think they are surviving the winter, and will the hatch be any good. Well with National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic just 1 week away, I figured I would warm up my answers on here, before encountering real people, lol.
Here in our portion of South Dakota, we have basically been looking at 2 feet of snow on the ground since Thanksgiving. December hunting, while not impossible, was not quite as enjoyable. But thanks, to that snow, a couple of things happened that i believe will really help to boost the birds in our area. First of all, that snow basically stopped most of the pheasant hunting in our areas. Less hunting means more birds. Second, the farmers, were not able to finish harvest in a lot of fields and we have a lot of standing corn. The standing corn is providing the Pheasants with plenty of food to survive the winter. The pheasants have all gravitated toward tree groves closest to those food sources for protection. We also haven't had that cold of a winter. Yes, we have been below 32 degrees, but we haven't spent much time below 0 degrees. All these factors mean that birds are surviving and the population is already at a plus for the time of year. Now, remember, I am talking about my area, and I can't speak much for other parts of the state.
I covered two questions in that one, so now how do I think the hatch will go? That is always a tough question. We have had adequate amount of snow fall to keep the low places filled up with water. The ground isn't frozen to deep so the thaw won't take to long (hopefully) so the snow should absorb nicely into all the nesting cover like CRP and the ditches. Unfortunately, I can't predict the weather, which is basically the biggest factor in all of this. I don't like to jinks things so I am not going to list the scenarios that could ruin a good hatch.
So, if you don't get to ask me in person next weekend in Minneapolis, here is your answer.
Now, I am not sure if anyone reads this or not, but if anyone does, I want you to leave a comment on this post, about things to do with hunting, our lodge, pheasants, or anything (appropriate) that you want me to talk about!
Thank you and have great weekend!