Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biology and Microbiology

First Advisor

Charles D. Dieter


Nest success is the biggest limiting factor governing waterfowl production in the Prairie Pothole Region which supports greater than 50% of North America’s breeding duck population. Depredation by predators accounts for 80% or more of nest losses each year (Klett 1988). Township size block predator management (BPM) has been effective at increasing duck nest success in North Dakota and Canada, but no BPM work has been done in South Dakota. There has also been no research on the effects of BPM on pheasants. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effectiveness of increasing duck and pheasant nest success with the aid of trapping as a management tool. Trappers hired by the Delta Waterfowl Foundation removed mammalian predators in northeast South Dakota on 2 36-square mile blocks from March 15-July15 in 2007 and 2009, and 3 blocks in 2008. Trappers removed 2,578 mammalian predators during this study, with raccoons (Procyon lotor) and striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) making up 58% of their catch. Trapped blocks along with a representative control block were searched for nests and monitored weekly to determine nest fate. I found 2,706 duck nests and 717 pheasant nests during this study. Mayfield nest success (as modified by Johnson1979) results for ducks ranged from 17.1% to 57.8% in trapped areas and 10.2% to 61.9% in control areas. Mean Mayfield nest success for ducks was not significantly different between treatments (F1,8 = 0.93, P = 0.36), year (F2,8 = 2.01, P = 0.20), or year-treatment (F2,8 = 0.35, P = 0.72) interactions. Mayfield nest success for pheasants ranged from 5.0% to 47.9.0% in trapped areas and 4.1% to 51.7% in control areas. Mean Mayfield nest success for pheasants was not significantly different between treatment (F1,8 = 0.17, P = 0.69), year (F2,8 = 1.47, P = 0.29), or year-treatment (F2,8 = 0.41, P = 0.68) interactions. Positive trends related to trapping in South Dakota were site and year specific for both ducks and pheasants. Future predator management in South Dakota should focus on areas of marginal nesting cover and should evaluate existing predator communities to maximize results

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ducks -- Predators of -- Control -- South Dakota Pheasants -- Predators of -- Control -- South Dakota Ducks -- Nests -- South Dakota Pheasants -- Nests -- South Dakota Predation (Biology) Predatory animals -- Control Wildlife management



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2011 the Author

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Life Sciences Commons