By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A “Pheasant Summit” was held Saturday in Marshall with Gov. Mark Dayton to discuss ways Minnesota can keep birds in play.

Earlier this week, I took “Maxi Cam” to South Dakota. And with the help of guide Ryan Sauter, I found out that they know how to keep the pheasant population up.

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South Dakota is pheasant country. And what Sauter wants to find in December is the thick, heavy cover — where roosters roam.

With a group that included seven dogs, you observe one reason this works: It’s that many farmers have maintained natural habitat.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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“We found it’s not necessarily profitable to tear up all your slews and potholes and farm those, so if you leave those then you get your wildlife built up,” Sauter said. “You get a better hatch, more birds.”

These are coveted game birds, but they are always in a fragile state based on conditions. And on this day, the conditions are challenging: 30-mile-an-hour winds gusting in your face, combined with a 30-degree temperature. It gets just a little bit cold – but it’s fun.

A few got away, but in the end of it, a bag limit was the result. A near-perfect day of hunting — South Dakota style.

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The season in South Dakota runs until Jan. 4.

Mike Max