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Many SD Pheasant Hunters Successful During Pheasant hunting Opener

PIERRE, S.D.—Unpleasant weather and standing corn may have diminished hunter success in some areas on the opening day of the pheasant hunting season in South Dakota.

Reports from S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Department personnel who were out in the field on Saturday indicate that hunter numbers and hunter success was down though there were some areas where limits were plentiful.

In the northeast region of the state, GFP officials noticed that hunters averaged about two birds each. “Smaller groups limited better than big groups,” according to Will Morlock, GFP regional game manager of Watertown. He noted that hunters who preferred to work in large groups were hampered because there is still corn standing in many fields in Spink, Faulk, Clark and Codington counties.

Hunters were evident throughout the region, but Morlock said reports from Grant and Roberts counties said those areas had more hunters out last weekend for the residents-only season than they did for the regular opener.

“Watertown was full of hunters last night,” Morlock said. “Where they went, nobody knows.”

Morlock characterized the weather in the region as “kind of miserable.” Temperatures were in the upper 30s with snow flurries during the day between Aberdeen and Redfield. However, the cooler temperatures made life easier for hunting companions. “Dogs are definitely not overheating,” Morlock said.

There was a minor accident in Clark County with few hunting violations elsewhere in the region. “It’s been a very good opener,” Morlock said

In the southeast portion of the state fewer hunters were reported, but that could have been due to a combination of factors, according to GFP Regional Game Manger Ron Schauer of Sioux Falls. “Weather could have been a factor,” Schauer said, noting that the conditions were cool and windy.

Schauer said the area of the region south of I-90 had the least hunting success with hunters averaging a bird or less. “The further north, the better it got,” Schauer said with hunters in Miner, Sanborn and Jerald counties averaging two birds each.

According to Schauer, the best hunting in that region was in Beadle County where most hunters were getting their limit. Schauer said many counties that saw lower hunting success still had plenty of corn standing while at least 50 percent of the corn in Beadle County was harvested.

Schauer knew of one hunting accident in Sanborn County and only two citations issued, both for trespassing. Schauer said the message he was getting from GFP personnel throughout the region was that “Hunters seemed to be well-behaved.”

Hunters in the central region of the state were averaging one to two birds per hunter on a cool, breezy day with some areas reporting snow flurries.

“Hunter attitudes were good,” said GFP regional game manager Andy Lindbloom of Fort Pierre, “even though they weren’t seeing as many birds as last year.”

Reports in the region ranged from birds flushing wild to holding tight. “Birds were found in typical pheasant cover, but kochia was prominent in many areas,” Lindbloom said.

No accidents were reported in the central region with hunters keen on obeying the laws. “There were a few violations in some areas,” Lindbloom said, “but overall very little.”

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