There has been a noticeable shift in our pheasant markets. Here are some of the shifts we see – The very high end preserves seem to be affected the most. Our President has made it clear that corporate junkets are to be looked at unfavorably. Many corporations have cut back their perk trips to high end preserves. I know of 2 high end preserves that are down 50% in bookings, but I’ve heard from both of these preserves and they both report last minute bookings are up.
“Destination” preserves are affected the most, destination meaning a preserve that you go to for 3+ days = a preserve that provides meals and lodging. There are many destination preserves in South Dakota – though we have them in KS, NE, ID, etc. These destination preserves are hurting. Day hunt preserves don’t seem to be affected to any degree. In fact, there are some that ascribe to the theory that people that aren’t going to e.g. South Dakota this year may hunt more at their local day-hunt preserve.
There is price pressure from preserves onto gamebird suppliers. Three years ago 20% grower feed here cost $140/ton – the same feed today is $250/ton. This means it costs us $1.00+ more today to produce an adult pheasant – just for the fee. But we have not been able to raise our mature prices at all, in fact, in a few cases we have been forced to reduce prices just to retain customers