Two primary factors affect pheasant hunting success: Bird density and hunter density. Bowdle is central to an area with historically high bird counts. This area generally receives less precipitation than the Eastern part of the state and has a large amount of stable habitat - The geography is generally less tillable than other areas so the total available habitat is less impacted by the loss of subsidized CRP acreage. As a result of these factors, the area has been less susceptible to the year-to-year bird population fluctuations seen in the other parts of the state.
Another quality of this area is low hunting pressure. There is a lot of land and few places to make camp. Being an hour from Aberdeen is great for avoiding the crowds. Less pressure on fields and the birds makes for more sustainable hunting success over the course of the season. You generally hear a lot about the hunting around Aberdeen and the other big towns - that is a product of the large number of hunters concentrated in those areas.
Online Public Hunting Atlas: https://sdgfp.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=946eccdaadf84df6aa2bcf08e9fb1aaf
Crop coverage map: https://nassgeodata.gmu.edu/CropScape/
License Purchase - Online: https://apps.sd.gov/gf79license/login.aspx
Hunting Seasons: https://gfp.sd.gov/pheasant/
Pheasant Outlook: https://gfp.sd.gov/userdocs/docs/2018RingneckOutlook.pdf
Pheasant Hunting Articles
Pheasants Forever Guide: http://www.pheasantsforever.org/Hunt/pheasant-hunting.aspx