South Dakota’s pheasant hunting season opened this week to sunshine after dark gray days and rain. Although pheasant hunting this year has been more challenging due to crops still in the fields, the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks are saying hunter satisfaction is high. Check out the latest news release from SD Game, Fish, and Parks regarding pheasant hunting in South Dakota:
Pheasant Season Begins With Sunshine and Crops in The Field
Mother Nature decided give pheasant hunters some sunshine for the 2009 South Dakota pheasant opener, but that doesn’t necessarily mean blue skies for those chasing roosters.
Although hunters saw beautiful weather, the remnants of two weeks of gray skies and rain across the pheasant belt left hunters limited to where they could chase wily roosters.
Scott Lindgren, South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Region 3 Game Manager from Watertown agreed that weather had a big part in hunter success and hunter access. "Our hunter numbers were down quite a bit," Lindgren said. "I could contribute it to a huge majority of the crops still being out in the fields. We are way behind in getting any of our major crops out, and I think hunters realize that."
Lindgren did report that hunters in Edmunds and McPherson Counties averaged a bird and a half each. Hunters in other parts of the state were down around a half a bird per hunter, but found success in CRP, sloughs, food plots and tree belts.
Lindgren was happy to report that there were no hunting accidents and very few hunting violations.
In the Southeast part of the state, GFP Region 4 Game Manager Ron Schauer reported low hunting activity.
"The sun shining was the best part of the day," Schauer said. "I think people were leery of the weather and that kept some people home. We probably have 95% of our crops still in the ground, but the hunters that hung in there and hunted the later part of the day did pretty well. They probably averaged around a bird and a half each."
Schauer said that Mother Nature left some hunters stranded.
"We had some public areas that hunters just couldn’t get to because of wet roads."
Schauer reported four accidents in his region. An Aurora County hunter was struck in the face by four pellets, but the accident was not regarded as life threatening.
Hunters in the central portion of South Dakota saw the best success, with hunters averaging about two birds each, said Andy Lindbloom, Region 4 Game Manager for South Dakota GFP.
"I think the weather had a lot to do with it," Lindbloom said. "We haven’t seen much of the sun in the past ten days. Hunters like sunshine and so do the birds."
Lindbloom reported nine violations in the central part of the state, most relating to road hunters and trespassing. Lindbloom also reported high hunter numbers and a positive hunter attitude.
"Hunters realize that crops in the ground can lead to tough hunting, but we still have great bird numbers and the hunters who hunt hard are getting their birds," said Lindbloom.
Schauer, Lindbloom and Lindgren all reported hunter satisfaction as high.
"Opening weekend hunters are here for friendship, fun and memories," said Lindgren.
With a strong pheasant population and crops coming out of the fields, South Dakota’s pheasant season should only get better in the coming weeks. For more information on pheasant hunting in South Dakota visit: http://www.sdgfp.info/Wildlife/hunting/Pheasant/Index.htm