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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date

1992

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Lester D. Flake

Abstract

A total of 174 food plots (primarily corn), planted to benefit wintering ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus), were studied on private lands in east-central South Dakota during winters 1988-89 through 1991-92. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship of winter food plot use by wintering pheasants to characteristics of food plots and their peripheral habitats. An additional objective during winters 1990-91 and 1991-92 was to determine if food plot use by pheasants is greater in 2nd-year food plots than 1st-year food plots. Pheasant use of food plots was evaluated by counting pheasants flushed within and immediately adjacent to food plots. In winters 1990-91 and 1991-92, 13 habitat and food plot variables potentially related to pheasant use of food plots were measured in the field and from aerial photographs within a 300 and a 400 meter radius of each plot's center (28 ha area and 50 ha area, respectively). Eleven habitat and food plot variables were evaluated when data from winters 1990-91 and 1991-92 were combined with data from winters 1988-89 and 1989-90. Variation in average number of birds per flush count was related to selected habitat and food plot variables using stepwise logistic regression analysis. For the 2-year data set, peripheral area of dense wetland emergents, peripheral area of tall (>76 cm) and medium (30-76 cm) grass, and food plot area were positively associated with pheasant use of food plots. Area of peripheral tree cover, even with dense understory, was negatively associated with food plot use by pheasants. For the 4-year data set, peripheral area of dense wetland emergents, and tall (>76 cm) and medium (>30-76) grass were positively associated with pheasant use of food plots. Food plot area, and food plot weed abundance were also positively associated with use of food plots by pheasants. Area of peripheral tree cover, even with dense understory, was not significantly associated with food plot use by pheasants in the 4-year data set. Extreme snowfall and drifting may have altered the tree cover relationship. No significant differences were detected between numbers of birds flushed from 1st year plots and 2nd year plots.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ring-necked pheasant -- South Dakota -- Feeding and feeds
Ring-necked pheasant -- South Dakota -- Wintering
Ring-necked pheasants -- South Dakota -- Habitat

Description

Includes bibliographical references (page 56-60)

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

77

Publisher

South Dakota State University

Rights

Copyright © 1992 Donald T. Larsen. All rights reserved.

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