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South Dakota Decides Against Longer Pheasant Season

April 20, 2008 by

The commission took the action at its April meeting in Brookings. The 2008 South Dakota Pheasant Hunting season will adhere to traditional dates, starting on the third Saturday of October—Oct. 18—and ending on the first Sunday of January—Jan. 4. The commission heard testimony both for and against the proposal at a public hearing in Brookings. The department also received more than 200 e-mail and telephone comments about the proposal. Commissioners said they also received numerous phone calls and comments about the proposed change. Wildlife Division Assistant Director George Vandel explained to the commission that with South Dakota enjoying a near record pheasant population, the state has the rooster pheasant population for a longer season. “We see our job as maximizing the recreational opportunity when the resource can handle it,” Vandel said. “The nesting habitat benefits of the Conservation Reserve Program or CRP acres are responsible for our strong pheasant populations.” On a 6-1 vote, commissioners agreed with the concerns of landowners and sportsmen’s groups who said that the pheasant hunting season was already long enough. It was evident from the outpouring of comments, Vandel said, that the people of South Dakota care deeply about the pheasant resource. The commission also stated that the final pheasant population number, statewide, was close to 11.9 million. The highest count since 1945. Indeed, the good old days are here and now. The challenge of the next decade will be combating the effects of close to 60% of total CRP acres in North and South Dakota expiring.

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