Pheasant hunters returned to S.D. fields

Capitol News Bureau
Pheasant Hunters Are Optimistic

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Many thousands more hunters bought licenses to pursue pheasants in South Dakota this fall.

That was the message state Wildlife Division director Tom Kirschenmann delivered Thursday to the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission.

“We are certainly seeing some very positive things this year, compared to last year,” Kirschenmann said.

He said resident license sales for small game including pheasants were “status quo or up a little bit,” while nonresident sales saw a “significant” rise, including “a pretty substantial jump” for five-day preserve licenses.

“We’re excited about that,” Kirschenmann said.

Resident annual fishing licenses fell from last year while non-resident numbers increased 17%.

“But we still had a phenomenal fishing year,” he said.

“That’s great stuff,” commission chairman Russ Olson of Wentworth said.

He noted that the upswing among visiting pheasant hunters meant thousands more breakfasts, lunches and suppers sold.

Kirschenmann said he and Secretary Kevin Robling talk on a regular basis with pheasant camp operators during the season.

“Things have been very strong,” Kirschenman said, adding that the operators continue to receive calls asking if there’s still room to come for hunts.

He said the higher sales translated to good news for the department’s budget and for providing services to hunters, anglers and cooperating landowners.

“Things look really good right now,” Kirschenmann said.

By The Numbers

Resident licenses

Combination (small game and fishing) 48,950 — highest in at least four years.

Senior combination 11,378 — highest in at least four years.

Junior combination 5,649 — lowest in at least four years.

Small game 14,454 — lowest in at least four years.

Youth small game 4,737 — highest in at least four years.

1-day small game 1,227 — highest in at least four years.

Annual fishing 55,466 — second-lowest in at least four years.

Senior annual fishing 13,900 — second-highest in at least four years.

1-day fishing 6,470 — second-highest in at least four years.

Nonresident licenses

Small game 72,107 — highest in at least four years.

Youth small game 3,067 — highest in at least four years.

Annual shooting preserve 374 — highest in at least four years.

5-day shooting preserve 12,929 — highest in at least four years.

Annual fishing 32,299 — highest in at least four years.

Family fishing 7,560 — lowest in at least four years.

Youth annual fishing 1,142 — second-lowest in at least four years.

3-day fishing 19,814 — lowest in at least four years.

1-day fishing 37,155 — highest in at least four years.

For all the numbers go to the last page of the commission booklet.

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