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PIERRE, S.D.—South Dakotans eager to get in the field or avoid the opening day crowds can fulfill both of those wishes during the three-day resident-only pheasant hunting season Oct. 13-Oct. 15.

Held a week before the traditional pheasant opener, the resident-only season was established by the S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Commission as a means for South Dakotans to avoid the congestion that’s often present on opening day.

“The state’s public lands normally have an abundant population of pheasants and the same is true this year,” said Acting GFP Wildlife Division Director George Vandel, “The light pressure on public and walk-in areas makes this short season perfect for beginners, occasional hunters or folks who don’t have access to private land during the regular season.”

There are some special regulations that govern the resident-only season. On all three days, shooting opens at noon Central Daylight Time and continues until sunset. The daily bag limit is three rooster pheasants with a possession limit of nine roosters by the last day of the season.

Public lands are open for hunting during this season including:
• Property owned, managed or leased by the S.D. Department of Game, Fish and Parks. This includes Game Production areas open for pheasant hunting during the regular season and Walk-In areas.
• Waterfowl Production Areas managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land adjacent to the Missouri River.
• U.S. Forest Service National Grasslands.
• U.S. Bureau of Reclamation land.
• Areas managed by the S.D. Office of School and Public Lands.
• State parks, recreation areas and lakeside use areas.

During the three-day season, hunting on road rights-of-way is limited to those roads contiguous to or part of the public hunting areas listed above.

Hunters are reminded to use non-toxic shot when hunting for pheasants. Non-toxic shot use is mandatory when using a shotgun to hunt for small game on all state game production areas, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Wildlife Production Areas managed by GFP, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges and Waterfowl Production Areas.

An ambiguous description of coated lead shot in the 2007 South Dakota Hunting and Trapping Handbook may lead hunters to erroneously conclude that this shot qualifies as non-toxic shot. “Lead shot coated by copper or any other soft metal may not be used on areas that are restricted to non-toxic shot only,” Vandel said.

Regulations for the resident-only pheasant season can be found on page 19 of the 2007 Hunting Handbook. The handbook is available at GFP offices and from most license agents or it may be downloaded from the department’s Web site at

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