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Thesis - University Access Only
Master of Science (MS)
Department / School
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Lester D. Flake
A cooperative program between sportsmen's groups, private landowners, and the Department of Game, Fish and Parks has resulted in placement of numerous winter food plots, primarily of corn, on private lands in eastern South Dakota with the intent to help wintering ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) survive. The objective of this study was to evaluate levels of pheasant use of food plots in relation to characteristics of food plots and their peripheral habitats. Thirty food plots were studied during the winter of 1988-89 and 45 during the winter of 1989-90; 59 of these were unique to a year and 16 were measured during both years. Pheasant numbers in food plots were monitored throughout each winter both by counting tracks (per 50 m) following fresh snow and counting pheasants flushed within and immediately adjacent to food plots during each month. When snow was lacking, data collection was limited to flush counts only. Twelve habitat variables potentially related to pheasant use of food plots were measured from aerial photographs within a 300 and a 600 meter radius of each food plot center (28.3 ha area and 113.1 ha area, respectively). Variation in average tracks/50 m and flush counts among 75 food plots (years combined) was related to the selected habitat variables using multiple regression (MAXR) analysis. Variation in average flush counts (R2 = 0.73) was more associated with habitat variables than was variation in average track counts (R2 = 0.45). Variables measured within a 300 m radius were better predictors of pheasant use than variables measured within a 600 m radius. Percent of the peripheral area in dense wetland emergents and willow (Salix spp.) patches was the best predictor of pheasant use of food plots. Percentage cover of tall grassland (> 76 cm) and distance from windward to leeward side of the food plot also were correlated with use of food plots. Shelterbelts, even with heavy understory, did not enhance use of food plots by pheasants. Extreme snowfall and drifting may alter this relationship.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Ring-necked pheasant--South Dakota--Habitat
Ring-necked pheasant--South Dakota--Wintering
Ring-necked pheasant--South Dakota--Feeding and feeds
Includes bibliographical references (pages 30-33)
Number of Pages
South Dakota State University
Copyright © 1996. Peter L. Crookston. All rights reserved.
Crookston, Peter L., "Habitat Characteristics Associated with Ring-necked Pheasant Use of Winter Food Plots in Eastern South Dakota" (1991). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 318.