Pheasant hunters not fazed by lower South Dakota bird counts

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) Reports that that South Dakota's pheasant population is down are not deterring hunters from out of state.

Many of the state's airports were hopping in advance of Saturday's non-resident pheasant opener, which is expected to be challenging after the state's annual survey showed a 45 percent decrease in birds from the year before.

Hunters flying into Aberdeen Friday afternoon were greeted with promotional tumblers, pheasant sandwiches and tickets that offered a chance to win a free shotgun. One hunter who arrived, 77-year-old Eli Karter of Osprey, Florida, says the lower bird counts just mean a little more work.

Jim Kelly, who flew into Sioux Falls with a group of 21 hunters from North Carolina, says he's not worried about the numbers because his party always gets its limit of pheasants.

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