2019 South Dakota pheasant opener is only weeks away, overall pheasant population down

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Last year was the 100th pheasant season in South Dakota.

The South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks completed a Pheasant Brood Survey Report on September 4 that showed the number of pheasants per mile decreased 17% statewide since 2018.

An overall decrease in the pheasant population was expected due to historic winter snowfall as well as heavy precipitation in the spring and summer months.

The survey also stated that it is highly likely that flooded ditches and unplanted crop fields had an affect on the overall decrease.

Trenton Haffley is the Terrestrial Supervisor for South Dakota Game Fish and Parks in Rapid City.

"Looking at it strictly from a participation standpoint, pheasant opener is one of the biggest openers we have over the course of the year. We really like to see pheasant numbers, we really like to see hunters out there and participating. It's also one of our largest economic drivers, both for the state and Game Fish and Parks," said Haffley.

Haffley said game wardens are preparing to be out checking on hunters, but said the Western region for Game Fish and Parks does not have to prepare as intensely for the opener compared to the Eastern region.

The pheasant season starts October 12 for South Dakota residents and the overall 2019 opener starts October 19.