"I can't prove it, but every sign points to a great season," says Steve Nelson of the state's Department of Economic and Tourist Development. "The cover is fantastic. If you have cover, you have birds, and it certainly looks to me as if we have plenty of them this year. I'm betting that the pheasants in South Dakota are finally on their way back."
No one really believes that they will ever again be 15 million strong, anymore than that bison herds can be expected to reach their former numbers. The country has changed too much. But it is not unreasonable to hope for 10 million birds in future seasons.
Most hunters will settle for that.