PIERRE, S.D. – Motorists are reminded to be aware of pheasants frequenting South Dakota’s highways this spring.
"Rooster pheasants are often hanging around roads and highways this time of year, vying for the attention of hens," said Brown County Conservation Officer Bill Antonides of Aberdeen. "The open road makes a perfect spot for them to strut and let the sunshine glisten from their feathers while the hens watch from the sidelines. Many of the birds are willing to take on most anything they perceive as a threat to their dominance, which includes cars and trucks. Be prepared to slow down, especially in the morning and evening."
Other wildlife can also be on roads and highways during the courtship rituals of spring. "Even ducks and geese will sit on roads, especially near ponds and sloughs," Antonides noted. "Many of these birds will later bring their newly hatched young to the roadsides in search of grit and sunshine. Motorists need to always be aware of hazards other than the normal potholes and inconsiderate motorists. Wildlife can be on roads at any time of day, but is most apt to be there and hardest to see during the low-light hours around dawn and dusk."
Drivers who encounter wildlife on the road are advised to brake hard enough to slow down, but not so hard to lose control of the vehicle. "Don’t head into oncoming traffic or take the ditch to avoid a collision," Antonides said. "Use reasonable speed and pay attention to avoid the need to use these tactics. If all else fails, keep in mind that most people who are injured in accidents involving wildlife are not hurt because they hit the animal, but because of evasive maneuvers they use to avoid the collision."
Information From the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks