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Ring-necked pheasant, bird feed, Phasianidae, gamebirds


The economic status in South Dakota of the ring-necked pheasant (Phasinus colchicus torquatus Gmelin X Phasianus colchicus colchicus L.) has turned out to be a controversial matter of no small importance with the citizenry of the State. This bird was introduced into South Dakota mainly thru the efforts and funds of the State Department of Game and Fish, and thru this department the pheasant was protected form slaughter by hunters, and permitted to multiply. When it was believed that the pheasants hasd established themselves in a county and multiplied sufficiently to warrant an open season , such an open season was declared in that county, regulations being issued which permitted the shooting of male birds only and which restricted the bag limit per day and the length of the season to avoid extermination of the pheasant or too great a reduction in numbers of the birds. As the pheasants increased in numbers in other counties, open season seasons were declared in these counties also. When the pheasants increased in numbers still more, the open season in some counties was lengthened, the bag limit was increased, and the absolute protection formerly given the hens was at times modified. Prior to April 1, 1929, no scientific study had been made of the food and feeding habits of the pheasants in South Dakota. While, in general it had been known that pheasants fed to some extent upon corn, small grain and other seeds, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars and other insects, exact information on what the pheasants actually consumed as food in various sections of the State throughout the year was not to be had, nor did any one know the variety and quantity of food that an average pheasant consumed in one meal, nor did any one know whether the average meal taken by pheasants was economically important to man or not. It was possible to ask a large number of questions regarding the food that pheasants eat, and yet to all of these, prior to this investigation, we would be compelled to answer “We don’t know.” A few questions follow: How much corn, wheat, oats, barley and other small grain does the average South Dakota pheasant eat in a meal during each of the 12 months of the year? From where and under what conditions were the corn and small grain procured? Does the pheasant eat more corn on an average in the southeastern section of the State which has about one-third of its crop area in corn, and a diminishing quantity in those sections in which a smaller percentage of the crop area is in corn? If this is true, does a similar condition exist for wheat, oats, barley and the smaller grains? [Introduction]










South Dakota State Univerity


In cooperation with the South Dakota Department of Game and Fish.