MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — So far this fall, hunters pursuing pheasants and other small game in South Dakota have purchased fewer licenses than they did a year ago.

That’s according to Tom Kirschenmann. He’s director for the state Wildlife Division in the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department.

GFP and the state Department of Tourism have been more aggressively promoting South Dakota to hunters for several years. South Dakota traditionally is the nation’s top spot for pheasant hunting.

Kirschenmann told the state GFP commission Thursday that sales were “a little bit behind last year” for residents. That was true for non-residents too, he said.

South Dakota’s main season for pheasants opened October 15 and runs through January 31. Kirschenman said hunters have seen good bird numbers, more than in past recent years.

Sales to residents totaled 79,886 through October 30. That compared to 82,648 in 2021. Among non-residents, sales were 61,401, compared to 62,483 a year ago.

“I would say license numbers are looking very good,” Kirschenmann said.