Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Matthew Diersen


Crop-Mix acres, CRP, Habitat, Harvest, Hunting, Pheasant Population


The decreasing pheasant population from 2008 to 2019 across South Dakota is a concern as it may lead to decreased hunting activity and consequently reduced economic activity. Past studies have shown that changes in the landscape (e.g., from changing agricultural practices) is a major factor responsible for decreasing the bird population. However, these studies lack a clear understanding of how the fluctuating crop mixes impact the pheasant population together with harvest volume. The goal of this study was to analyze the pheasant population and the quantity of harvested birds during 2008 to 2019 in South Dakota to understand how variations in some of the key crop areas were associated with pheasant population. The study focused on understanding how bird population and number of hunters influence the pheasant harvest volume. To achieve this goal, a simultaneous equation model was employed to estimate both bird population and harvest volume jointly. The study showed that wheat, alfalfa and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres were positively related with pheasant population. Similarly, the number of hunters and bird population were positively related with the number of harvested birds. There was a negative relation of corn/soybean and other hay acres with both variables. It was also found that wheat and alfalfa acres were strong determinants over CRP acres and winter wheat was more likely than other crops to enhance pheasant population and harvest volume. Efforts to increase small grains and forage crops, including CRP acres, may be necessary to maintain and increase pheasant population and harvest volume.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pheasants -- Habitat -- South Dakota.
Ring-necked pheasant -- South Dakota.
Pheasant shooting -- South Dakota.
Bird populations -- South Dakota.
Conservation Reserve Program (U.S.)

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright