dense nesting cover

Dense nesting cover is a mixture of cool season grasses (those that green up early in the spring), legumes and forbs. It is the cornerstone habitat type for many wildlife species.

Lack of adequate nesting cover is the number one limiting factor for pheasant populations in South Dakota. Pheasant, waterfowl and other upland nesting birds use this cover for nesting, rearing their broods, roosting and loafing. This type of cover is designed to maximize nesting activity and reproductive success for pheasants on your property.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks will cost share 100 percent of the installation costs for dense nesting cover establishment. A 10 year commitment is required by the operator to keep dense nesting cover grass intact and undisturbed to establish or enhance managed nesting areas from 10 to 160 acres in size.

Each site is excluded from haying and grazing for the duration of the agreement. Spot spraying and mowing are allowed to control weeds, but must not exceed 10 percent of the total seeded acres.

South Dakota law requires that reasonable public hunting be provided when habitat management funds are expended on private lands.

Common components of dense nesting cover include:


  • Intermediate Wheatgrass
  • Tall Wheatgrass
  • Green Needlegrass
  • Canada Wildrye

Forbs and Legumes

  • Alfalfa
  • Sweetclover
  • Purple Prairieclover
  • Maximilian sunflower