PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Among hunters who wrote letters and emails, twice as many said they were opposed as those who said they supported the additional opportunities the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department wants to provide for the pheasant season.

A KELOLAND News count found that approximately 120 hunters and two organizations said they were against all of the proposals, while approximately 61 hunters and one organization said they supported the changes.

A third group of 29 hunters supported some parts, opposed others and in some instances suggested different steps.

Most of the opposition came from South Dakota residents, while much of the support came from hunters outside South Dakota. Some comments from South Dakota hunters criticized the department for putting money ahead of increasing pheasant numbers. Some referred to Secretary Kelly Hepler’s decision to stop the annual summer brood survey.

The written comments are posted online here and here.

The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission will take comments over the telephone starting at 2 p.m. CT Wednesday during its teleconference meeting. The commission will continue to take comments over the telephone Thursday at 9 a.m. CT. The commission likely will decide Thursday whether to accept or reject all or parts of the proposed changes.

The proposals include expanding the shooting hours to 10 a.m. local time for the resident-only season that opens the second Saturday of October and the entire season starting on the third Saturday of October; extending the season through January 31; and, starting in 2021, allowing hunters to take one more rooster apiece, for a total bag of four, starting December 1.

The South Dakota Farm Bureau came out against the longer season, while the South Dakota Migratory Bird Association opposed all three proposals. Safari Club International’s Dacotah chapter supported the proposals.