101st South Dakota Pheasant Opener brings fair weather and fair success

It was a slow start to the pheasant season for most hunters in South Dakota.

According to the state Game, Fish and Parks Department, hunters in the Central and Southeast Regions of the state averaged ½ to ¾ of a bird per hunter. The Western Region reported slightly less success averaging ¼ to ½ a bird per hunter, while the Northeast Region averaged 1 bird each.

GFP officials reported Lyman, McPherson, Edmunds, Marshall, Minor, Sandborn, Bennett, southern Beadle and Aurora counties as being the busiest.

South Dakota’s traditional statewide pheasant hunting season began Saturday and runs through Jan. 5, 2020. Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to share their photos and videos with GFP online by using #SdintheField.

Reports from the fields across the state indicate the following:

  • Central Region, Brian Serpan, GFP Regional Game Manager reported about 1/2 – 3/4 of a bird per hunter, with most birds coming from food plots and the edges of standing crop fields. Lyman County saw the most hunters.
  • Northeast Region, Nick Rossman, GFP Regional Game Manager reported hunters averaging about a bird per hunter, with lots of standing crops in the field and hunters seeing many young birds. McPherson, Edmunds and Marshall counties were the busiest counties.
  • Southeast Region, Brad Baumgartner, GFP Regional Game Manager reported wet field conditions, but hunters averaging 1/2 of a bird per hunter in the eastern portion of the region and 3/4 of a bird per hunter in the west. Minor, Sandborn, southern Beadle and Aurora counties were the most popular.
  • Western Region, Kris Cudmore, GFP Regional Game Manager reported Bennett County being the most popular for hunters with groups averaging between 1/4 -1/2 of a bird per hunter.