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Is South Dakota’s Pheasant Boom Headed for a Bust?

A pheasant forages in a frozen field
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) – A wildlife biologist says that South Dakota’s pheasant boom could go the way of the Black Hills gold rush of 1870s – as in, it might disappear.

Pheasants Forever farm bill biologist Mike Blaalid says that the bust is tied to there being less land in the Conservation Reserve Program. The Mitchell Daily Republic reports that there was more than 1.55 million acres of CRP in the state in 2007. To date, that number has fallen by nearly 600,000 acres.

In about the same time, the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks reports that the pheasant population has dropped by nearly half.

Blaalid wants Congress to pass a new farm bill and for CRP rates to stay competitive to encourage farmers to take part in the program.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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