Changes could be coming to pheasant hunting season in South Dakota

The proposed changes will be discussed with public comment in mind at the Game, Fish, and Parks commission meeting on September 2nd and 3rd.
Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 3:38 PM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Changes could be coming to one of South Dakota’s biggest activities. The state’s Game, Fish, and Parks department is looking to revise the way pheasant hunting is done in the state.

The first change is a 10 A.M. CST start time for resident pheasant season, and the regular pheasant season as well. Further, the season would be extended out until January 31st. The changes would also allow for more pheasants to be harvested. The changes are coming after the Game, Fish and Parks department already said they would not be conducting their regular July-August surveys, citing the reporting and years past to be incomplete.

The hunting season for the official state bird is an essential part of the state’s economy. More recently, the number of hunters has been in decline.

“Over the last year or so there has been a lot of discussions about declining licenses sale and declining participation in pheasant hunting and these trends have really been in place for ten years, and for residents really 50 years, where we are just not seeing as high a participation rate in pheasant hunting as we used to.” said Travis Runia, the South Dakota Game, Fish, & Parks Senior Upland Game Biologist. “We looked at a lot of different ways to encourage participation in pheasant hunting, and one of the aspects was to look at the pheasant hunting season structure and seeing if there was way to make the season more liberal just a way to provide more opportunity to hunters and a way to attract more hunters to the field.”

The changes are part of a broader campaign by the state of South Dakota, which will also include a Department of Tourism ad campaign.

Owner of Major League Adventures Tom Bruno says that despite a decline in hunters over the past few years, and uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, he is already booked and excited for the upcoming season.

“I’m pretty happy, as far as the conditions in the field we’ve had ample moisture, so the type of cover and the food plots that we’ve got for our birds seems to be looking pretty good. I’m pretty optimistic... and fortunately in the last few weeks I’ve seen quite a few young birds running around, when you see that its a sign that its going to be a great year to shoot some pheasants.” Bruno said.

These potential changes will be considered further, with public comment in mind, at the next Game, Fish, and Parks commission meeting on September 2nd and 3rd.

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