SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – In September, the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission decided to extend the 2020 pheasant hunting season. This is in hopes of giving hunters a chance to space out their time during the pandemic.
Dale Thorpe has been pheasant hunting in South Dakota for over 70 years.
“My dad bought me a single-shot 20 gage when I was thirteen, and I started hunting then,” Thorpe said.
The resident hunter was able to bag at least two birds this season.
“It’s just part of life here, and I really enjoy it. And it’s nice to be with friends, and hunting is great,” Thorpe said.
Out-of-state hunters weren’t so lucky this year with COVID-19 affecting travel conditions. Despite that, according to Regional Wildlife Program Manager Brad Baumgertner, they’ve seen a spike in resident hunters.
“We have seen a slight decrease in the non-resident but obviously the outdoors are open and you can tell people are definitely taking advantage of it,” Baumgertner said
South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks still want to give every hunter their shot. The traditional season usually spans from Mid-October to the end of December. Now it’s extended till January 31st. Baumgertner says an extended season brings more advantages.
“There’s definitely a lot of people that would rather late-season hunt than early-season hunt. Some people like to take advantage of when they’re grouped up like that, they got their tactics,” Baumgertner said.
“Oh, I love hunting in the snow: that’s when the pheasants bunch up. Being raised in South Dakota, you’re used to the cold and hunting in snow is great,” Thorpe said.
Thorpe says he hopes to take advantage of the extra time.
“I would sure like to. I we get the chance, I’m sure I probably will,” Thrope said.
“I can’t think of a better way to social distance than to get out there and stretch your legs and let your dogs run a little bit, if you have some,” Baumgertner said.
Shooting hours start at 10 a.m. in your respective time zone. South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks has other rules and information on their website.