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South Dakota extends pheasant season through Jan. 31

Hunting dog pheasant
A hunting dog with a nice rooster during a South Dakota pheasant hunt. Forum News Service file

PIERRE, S.D. — Pheasant hunters will have more time to get out in the field and bag an additional rooster following changes approved Thursday, Sept. 3, by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission.

Commissioners approved motions to:

  • Extend the state’s pheasant hunting season through Jan. 31.

  • Modify the shooting hours for the first week of the regular from noon to 10 a.m. Central beginning on Oct. 17.

  • Increase the daily bag limit from three to four roosters beginning Dec 1, 2021.

Having additional days would provide additional opportunities for hunters to get out there and harvest those roosters that still exist, according to a report provided by the state Game, Fish and Parks agency.
The report noted that increasing the bagging limit would not have a negative effect on the overall pheasant population.

A rooster can breed with up to 10 hens during the annual breeding cycle. The rooster lifespan is a year on average.

Heather Villa, wildlife administration chief, told commissioners during their July meeting that license sales are increasing compared to 2019.


“Our resident combination licenses are up 25% and resident annual fishing licenses are up 89%. Our data shows that license holders are purchasing their licenses earlier in the year. This is to be expected with having better weather compared to last year’s extended winter,” Villa reported.

“However, we are showing the highest resident annual fishing and resident combination license sales in five years. Nonresident annual fishing licenses are up 32% and are trending similarly to 2018, but are still lower than 2016 and 2017.”

The Habitat Stamp initiative, which was introduced and signed into law during this year’s legislative session, has already generated $611,991 in revenue that will fund habitat improvements in the state.

The habitat stamp revenue stems from the purchases of 8,342 resident licenses and 15,399 nonresident licenses as of July 13.

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