Good news, pheasant hunters in South Dakota.
It sure looks promising heading into this fall for the statewide pheasant opener. This year’s season runs Oct. 17 to Jan. 3, with the three-day resident-only season going from Oct. 10-12.
Conditions over the winter and the spring have been favorable, according to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks senior upland game biologist Travis Runia.
Weather in late June and early July — which are prime nesting conditions for pheasants — has not been perfect. There have been some severe thunderstorms in the Mitchell area, which include hail and damaging winds that especially did not help the pheasant population.
We’ve started to see some broods in the area, though. And we’re wondering if people are seeing the same thing. According to a GF&P report last August, populations jumped 76 percent from the previous year. While Runia does not expect that high of jump again this year, he is expecting “a modest increase.”
What are the early indications? Are you seeing birds in the region? Where do you live, and what does the season outlook like for your area based on your on field reports?