Reports are beginning to slip out of pheasant country ... and it doesn't look good. South Dakota is reporting a large setback of pheasant numbers with a decrease of 46 percent over 2010. Minnesota is down a whopping 64 percent, and Nebraska is also seeing a downward trend. Of course, you can always look at the good news.
"What good news," you might ask? Consider this: In top states like South Dakota or Nebraska, even in years where numbers are lower, they still have significantly more pheasants than most other states. When I worked for South Dakota Tourism I always said that a bad year in South Dakota is better than a good year in most states. I still believe that to be true.
Here's another option if you feel the pheasant numbers might be too low for your approval: Try hunting another species of upland game. The Hungarian partridge and sharptail numbers in my front yard here in Wyoming look exceptional again.
You can always plan a ruffed grouse trip to the North Country, a sharptail hunt on the prairies, or even hike into the mountains for blue grouse. Use your imagination, but don't sit back and grumble because some forecaster says numbers are down.
Remember, a bad day of hunting is usually better than any day on the job or dealing with house chores.
Enjoy the season.