Hunters were able to start shooting pheasants at noon on Saturday. Last year hunters’ bagged 1.42 million birds, but this year the number is estimated to be 64-percent down according to Game, Fish & Parks. South Dakota is still projected to be the most popular place in the country to hunt pheasants. Hunters in the Howard area are saying that while numbers might be down across the state, finding pheasants there will not be a problem.
“I know they say that Pheasant numbers are down but in this area there's a lot of birds. There's 15 of us on the first walk and we ended up getting 12 and I'll just say there's more that flew away then come down so it's a good start. The first walk of the year it's always fun with great, we do it every year,” pheasant hunter Rick Hiltunen said.
Only residents could hunt last weekend, and just on public land. Saturday's opening of the main season allows residents and non-residents alike to hunt on public and private land.