Pheasant hunting has evolved into one of the more popular hunting sports over the centuries. The pheasant is native to the Asian continent but they have been widely introduced to countries on a global basis.
The following is a list of the 6 states in the US that always seems to lead the pack for pheasant hunting.
Although there was a significant drop in 2004 to “only” 750,000 harvested birds, Iowa is still considered the second best state in the US for pheasant hunting. After 2004, there was an average increase of 19% with central Iowa leading the way with a 45% increase in the number of harvested birds. The north central and northwestern parts of the state hold the overall highest population density.
Always a frontrunner, the state of Kansas displays increasing numbers year after year. Typically, rainier seasons in the early part of the year mean that the many stands of wheat throughout the state will be more prolific and provide better nesting grounds for hens. That nesting success was greater due to a dryer May and June with the most significant harvest numbers coming from the western regions of the state.
The pattern in this state was somewhat similar to Iowa in that there was a noticeable decrease in the number of harvested birds in 2004. But the rebound in 2005 was considerably more significant than what Iowa hunters experienced the ensuing year – it was a whopping 75% increase based on roadside counts. The best populations are located in the south central and southwestern regions of the state.
Ironically, the dip in the 2004 pheasant hunting season numbers (the low point during the first decade of the 21st century so far) was not the rule of thumb in Nebraska as it was in the above states. There was actually a 10% increase that occurred while Iowa’s and Minnesota’s numbers dropped dramatically. Roadside counts have indicated that numbers are declining in the eastern regions whereas they are increasing in the western regions. However, the southwest region is still considered the prime pheasant area.
Landowners continue to report excellent numbers of birds year after year in North Dakota. Stick to the areas south of I-94 whenever you are hunting pheasant in the state.
In 2005, the Department of Game, Fish, and Parks in South Dakota reported the highest brood numbers on record dating back to the 1960’s. As of the 2009 season, pheasant hunters harvested over 1.6 million birds, which is why South Dakota is typically the leader of all the states listed here.