South Dakota nonresident pheasant licenses down 18 percent

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) South Dakota wildlife officials say they've sold thousands fewer pheasant hunting licenses to out-of-state residents this year.

The Capital Journal reports sales are down about 18 percent compared with last year, when the state sold 82,522 licenses to nonresidents. As of this past Dec. 11, the state had sold 67,651. The season runs from Oct. 21 through Jan. 7.

State Wildlife Division Director Tony Leif told the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission on Friday that the reduced sales means the state will collect about $1.7 million to $1.8 million less than last year. He called the lost revenue "substantial."

Leif says many out-of-state hunters likely stayed away because drought hurt broods last summer. He says the state needs precipitation during the breeding season.

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