This past weekend, I went turkey hunting with my dad and brother.
First the Good:
We did have a great time, and both my brother and I got turkeys. They were both jakes, but we still filled our licenses. My dad knocked a turkey down, but it fell out of sight. By the time he got to where he could make a follow up shot, the turkey had recovered enough to run away. We tried to find it, but it wasn't like there was a blood trail to follow. We saw more turkeys and other wildlife, but weren't able to go 3 for 3. My dad is fine with still needing to fill his tag because now he has a good excuse to make another trip up there.
The north half of the Pine Ridge from Chadron to Crawford got fried last summer. I knew they had fires up there, but the reports I was able to read described the fires as low-level, low-intensity brush fires. I am no forest fire expert, but I would disagree with those descriptions based on what I saw. There were areas where I knew there used to be lots of trees where now there isn't even stumps. Some areas burned so hot that grass probably won't be able to come up for a while.
On top of that and likely as collateral damage to the fire, it also looked like the deer herds suffered rather significant winter kill. About every quarter mile of hiking, we came across 1-3 deer carcasses from this past winter. I have heard of worse winter kill than that, but it was the worst I had ever seen.
I know a fire can help a lot of things. That area did have quite a bit of deadfall, ironically enough, largely from fires in that last 10 years. We did still see quite a bit of wildlife, but it is tough knowing that it won't be as nice as it was in the next several decades. I don't want to be insensitive to anyone who has suffered real losses due to fires, but it is tough to see one of your favorite hunting spots get burned like that.