Countless hunters will be out in the fields of South Dakota this weekend for the traditional opening of the annual pheasant hunting season, and state wildlife officials are optimistic.
For one thing, the Game, Fish and Parks Department says the mid-summer pheasant count estimated the statewide ringneck population to be up 18 percent from last year.
Also, GF&P says South Dakota has many public hunting opportunities, with more than 1.2 million acres of Walk-In Areas; 294,000 acres of state-owned Game Production Areas; and 150,000 acres of federal Waterfowl Production Areas available to hunters in the state.
In recent years Game, Fish and Parks has expanded its cooperative efforts with private landowners and the US Department of Agriculture to provide wildlife habitat and public hunting opportunities on nearly 70,000 acres in the James River valley that are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.