Off-campus South Dakota State University users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your South Dakota State University ID and password.

Non-South Dakota State University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Lester D. Flake


south dakota, pheasnat, habitat, hunter, hunter surveys


Habitat types on private pheasant hunting preserves in South Dakota were mapped during the summers and winters of 1987-88 and 1988-89. Control areas were randomly selected farmland of comparable geography and potential use within three miles of the preserve site. Efforts in the summer were directed at evaluating potential nesting cover of all upland areas. During the winter seasons, available winter food and winter cover were measured and recorded. Potential nesting cover (PNC), defined as all grassland, hayland (including alfalfa mowed after 1 July), and pasture, was more abundant on control areas than on preserve sites, but the average height/density of PNC was greater on preserves than controls. The amount of winter cover in the form of emergent wetland vegetation was not different between preserves and controls. Shelterbelts on preserve sites tended to be of better composition for wildlife than those on control areas, with more shelterbelts of greater width, containing fruiting shrubs, and containing two or more rows of conifers. Crops left standing as winter food for wildlife were very limited on control areas and present on most preserve areas. Mailed questionnaires were sent to South Dakota pheasant hunters during the winter and spring of 1988. Four groups of hunters were sampled. The groups included: 1) resident non-preserve hunters; 2) resident preserve hunters; 3) non-resident non-preserve hunters; and 4) non-resident preserve hunters. Questions were asked concerning social and economic characteristics of the hunters and their families. Additional questions were asked about hunting experience, reasons for hunting on preserves, and affiliation with conservation groups. Of 1, 960 questionnaires mailed, 1077 (54. 9%) of the questionnaires were completed and returned (responses), and 1278 (65. 2%) were accounted for but not completed (returns). Men comprised 95% of the sample, and had an average age of 46 years (preserve hunters) and 44 years (non-preserve hunters). The median starting age of both groups was 12 years. The majority of men in both the preserve hunting group and those hunting elsewhere had hunted with a family member or other adult when learning, but most women had not. There was no difference between groups in amounts of hunting experience. The preserve and non-preserve hunter groups were significantly different in marital status, amount of annual household income, size of community of residence, size of community in which the hunter grew up, an likelihood of being a member of a conservation group. There was no difference in likelihood of owning a bird dog. Preserve hunters also received a set of preserve-specific questions. The median number of preserves hunted on in 1987 was one, and the most frequently cited reason for hunting preserves was abundance of game. Most preserve hunters indicated they were pleased with their preserve hunting experience and that they were satisfied with the overall services provided by the preserves. Most indicated that they would advise others to hunt on preserves. Other information was gathered regarding preserve services, wildness of birds, and how the hunter learned about the preserve. Continuing investigations should be directed to determine whether or not the hunters using private pheasant preserves would continue to hunt in South Dakota if preserves did not exist, did the hunters come to South Dakota prior to preserve existence, and do wild pheasant population numbers have any affect on preserve hunting activity.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pheasants -- Habitat
Shooting preserves -- South Dakota
Pheasant shooting -- South Dakota
Hunting surveys -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (page 65-69)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 1994 Kenneth G. Shay All rights reserved.