Early bird gets the bird: New start time for pheasant hunting

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Big changes for pheasant hunting.

For the first time in the history of South Dakota, pheasant hunters will be able to begin hunting pheasants at 10 a.m.

That’s just one of the changes passed this year by the Game, Fish and Parks Commission and hunters we talked with are excited to get out into the fields early.

“I’ve lived in South Dakota all my life,” Timothy Lemme said.

This is the first time Timothy Lemme has picked up his shotgun since last pheasant hunting season.

Today he and his friend Bill Madson are getting in a little target practice at Hunter’s Pointe near Humboldt.

Traditionally, hunters had to wait ’til noon to begin shooting birds, but now the Game, Fish and Parks decided to move the start time up to 10 am.

“Pheasants seem to move earlier in the day, so if you can get out a little bit earlier I think it’s a good opportunity,” Lemme said.

Madson says it won’t affect him much, but he thinks those who come to South Dakota to hunt will love it.

“When I’ve had out of state hunters, they get a little anxious to get going in the morning, and I’ll take advantage of it,” Madson said.

The GF & P also extended the length of the season until January 31st.

“I love the idea of another month to hunt. I like to hunt late in the year and I like it when there’s snow on the ground, it’s a good opportunity to get out there,” Lemme said.

It’ll more than likely be very cold then, but these guys don’t mind and neither do their dogs.

“I love it, winter hunting is my favorite time to hunt and I love to hunt when there’s snow on the ground,” Madson said.

These two extensions will provide additional opportunities for hunters and bring South Dakota in line with other pheasant hunting states like Nebraska and Kansas.

The Game, Fish and Parks considered increasing the daily limit, too, but decided to keep it at three per day.

The commission did vote to adopt an unrestricted harvest opportunity for those hunting on a private shooting preserve from Sept. 1 through the end of the statewide pheasant season.

The commission amended the original proposal and voted to approve the modification allowing preserve hunters the opportunity, if they obtained a statewide nonresident small game license, plus a habitat stamp and, for residents, a combination license and the habitat stamp.

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