Pheasant opener success depended on location, GF&P says

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Across the state, hunters took to the fields in search of pheasants.

While opening weekend may be the busiest time of the hunting season, it’s not always the best time to get a bird.

It’s been a busy start to pheasant hunting season for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks– the department even has brought in officers from the west side of the state to help.

“It was obviously crazy busy, but bird numbers were great we had a lot of hunters out there. It was a gorgeous weekend, so it was great to see a lot of success out there. It was pretty spotty success, but overall it was a great week,” said Jeremy Roe, Regional Conservation Officer Supervisor.

Bird numbers varied depending on the location.

“It seemed like when you got to the eastern part of the region up around Brookings and Sioux Falls, it was a little bit less birds. There was a lot more crops in. And as you got over into Huron, Aurora and Dewey County, north of Mitchell, south of Mitchell, there’s a lot more crops out and definitely bird harvest was way up out there. So we got to see a lot of successful hunters out there for sure,” said Roe.

Hunters made their way to South Dakota from across the country.

“To say we had more than last year, I’m not sure yet, but it sure seemed like we had a lot of, you know, hunters on the landscape this weekend,” said Roe.

Opening weekend may be the busiest time for hunting, but it’s not always the prime time to get a bird.

“Especially a lot of those residents, they start planning their hunting season around that Thanksgiving time, and then really mother nature is the ultimate decider here. But late November, December and now with the extended season through January, there can be some really, really good hunting to be had. Those folks that go out and are willing to deal with a little colder conditions, those birds, they are really predictable at that point,” said Nick Harrington, Communications Manager.

And as always, safety should be top of mind for hunters.

“Wear your orange, know where all your hunters are all the time,. Our biggest accident that we see is swinging on game and then shooting a friendly hunter so obviously safety is always the number one thing that everyone that goes out comes back safe,” said Roe.

Game, Fish and Parks said that it’s not only a good year for hunting, but also fishing, so they want to remind hunters to pack their fishing poll and get in some fishing while they are out here. You can also check out the state parks and camping facilities offered at those.

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