I developed the notion that however the South Dakota pheasant season goes has a large impact on the U.S. pen raised pheasant market. Over the past few years, whenever (for whatever reason) there is an increased demand for pen raised birds from South Dakota – that demand draws birds from all the surrounding and even 2nd tier states. The South Dakota pheasant preserve business is huge – and if the preserves need birds – that market can draw down a good portion of the excess birds (i.e. birds raised on speculation – birds raised above and beyond what the grower has contracts for) from some of the highest producing pen raised pheasant states there are (e.g. Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin to name a few). There are several identifiable reasons that South Dakota preserves, during certain years, need a larger than normal influx of pen raised birds; of course hunter demand is an easy one to list. But a wet fall results in the crop farmers not getting their crops harvested – and that very fact, in my mind, has a larger impact – as the wild birds can escape (hide) in those unharvested fields – and the preserves just can’t produce the birds for their hunters. Another reason for higher demand (that has not occurred in several years) is a diminished supply of wild pheasants in South Dakota – the last few years have been boom years though for South Dakota wild pheasants. Earlier this year (April) I drove through South Dakota and I literally had to be on the lookout as I drove – to keep from having a pheasant crash through my windshield. I saw “flocks” of 100’s of pheasants in the fields – there were pheasants flying everywhere – it was crazy!
When the South Dakota market “pulls” the excess pheasants out of the surrounding states, this one event can alter the entire mature pheasant market (because the “pull” of pheasants runs into the tens of thousands or more birds trucked into South Dakota).
On the other hand, when the market in South Dakota for pen raised birds goes “bust” like in the fall of 2008 – not only is their no “pull” of birds into South Dakota – there is an export of pheasants raised in South Dakota with no home. Those pen raised South Dakota birds are then marketed by South Dakota raisers in the surround states – exacerbating the excess of birds already on the market.
So, depending on whether there is a “pull” from South Dakota or an overabundance of birds resulting in exports – has a far reaching, dramatic impact on the U.S. market as a whole.
It’s too early to tell how the South Dakota market will end up this year. But I’ll tell you, as of today October 20th – it’s been a rainy fall and the crop farmers haven’t been able to harvest their crops. Let’s just hope there won’t be a significant snowfall in South Dakota til December!!