South Dakota pheasant preview: Wildlife officials expect big numbers

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota pheasant hunting season gets underway in a few weeks, and the numbers look more than promising.

Why wildlife officials are expecting big things this year and hunters who are getting ready for the season opener.

Things are looking up for pheasant hunting season this year in South Dakota.

That’s why Alex Jensen and a handful of his co-workers and some of their clients came here to Hunters Pointe Shooting Complex near Humboldt.

“I hear there are going to be a lot of birds this year, so we are just practicing up,” Jensen said.

Jensen typically hunts north of Pierre during pheasant season.

Over the years, it’s traditionally been one of the hot spots for pheasants and he expects the same this year.

“No doubt, there are a lot of birds up there, and a lot of good families,” Jensen said.

Tony Nour is also aiming for big things this year, but he says he just loves being in the outdoors and that’s why he came here today.

“It’s a great way to get together with colleagues from work and colleagues from the business community and just have a good time heading into the hunting season,” Nour said.

According to the Game, Fish and Parks Department, last year’s pheasant hunting season was spectacular in South Dakota, with hunters harvesting over 1 million birds.

While 2020 was incredible, the GF&P says 2021 is shaping up to be even better.

A mild winter plus a dry spring and summer add up to big numbers this year for pheasant numbers, possibly even a record.

Pheasant hunting in South Dakota has been a long-standing tradition for decades for a lot of hunters; even those who fly in every year from out of state.

Some believe South Dakota could see even more out-of-state hunters this year, because of the pandemic.

“I think South Dakota is going to be a really big magnet for hunters this year again, we are going to stay open and that’s a really big thing, we are going to use it as a way to get people here for tourism and just a good economic development opportunity,” Jensen said.

The state says hunters pump millions of dollars into the economy every year.

And with possible record pheasant numbers this year, they expect businesses will flourish; which will be good news to some of the bars, restaurants and hotels that have struggled during the pandemic.

But for now, these guys have their sights set on clay pigeons to get ready for what could be the best pheasant hunting season ever.

“I just love being outside and watching the dogs work and watching the birds flush up it’s a South Dakota tradition,” Jensen said.

The traditional season opener runs from October 16 through January 31 of 2022.

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