The worst drought in recent memory has depleted numbers of the popular game bird in the two states that are considered among the best pheasant hunting areas in the nation.
Pheasants are big business in the Dakotas, drawing hundreds of thousands of hunters who spend hundreds of millions of dollars.
Troy Mosbrucker is mayor of Mott, generally considered the heart of North Dakota pheasant country. He says businesses that rely on the season to get through the winter will have a tough time this year.
South Dakota hunting lodge owner Stephan Stanley says smaller operators will be hurt most. He says most large commercial operations are releasing birds to boost pheasant numbers in their areas.
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Tourism and business officials in the Dakotas are bracing for poor pheasant hunting this fall.