SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — More hunters headed afield for pheasants in South Dakota and took more of them during the 2022 season.

That’s according to harvest data delivered Friday during the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission at Good Earth State Park.

Upland game biologist Alex Solem said hunters reported bagging 1,158,716 roosters. That was 8.6% more than for the prior year.

There were 129,367 hunters, up 1.9%, he said. They included 53,846 residents and 73,887 non-residents. The pheasant hunting season ran from Oct. 15 to the end of January.

The top counties for pheasant harvest were Aurora, Beadle, Brown, Brule, Davison and Hughes.

Hunters also did well on sharp-tail grouse and prairie chickens, according to Solem. He said hunters reported harvesting 63,617, a 19% increase from 2021. There were 16,765 hunters, up 9%. They included 9,149 residents and 7,616 non-residents.

The estimates were based on responses to surveys sent to 15,000 residents and 15,000 non-residents who bought licenses and hunted upland gamebirds in the 2022 seasons. Hunters who bought preserve licenses weren’t included.

The pheasant harvest was “incredible,” according to Solem. “It’s not too far off from the heyday of the mid-2000s when we were harvesting two million pheasants,” he said.

Said commission chair Stephanie Rissler of Vermillion, “The numbers look good.”