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SD Considers Longer Pheasant Season

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I have mixed emotions on this one. It is great to hunt roosters late season in the snow and it would help the SD economy. On the other hand, in a hard winter year they need a break from the hunting pressure. I just thought I would post this for 'ya all.

GF&P Considers Longer Pheasant Hunting Season - 03/06/2008 11:40 AM


GF&P Considers Longer Pheasant Hunting Season

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The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission is considering adding almost a month to South Dakota's pheasant hunting season.

The season has been ending on the first Sunday of January. The commission has proposed a rule change that would end next year's season on Jan. 31.

That would mean this fall's regular pheasant season would run from Oct. 18 to Jan. 31.

State wildlife officials say extending the length of the season would not harm the pheasant population, but some people might oppose a longer season.

The commission will take a final vote on the proposal after holding a public hearing when it meets in Brookings on April 3-4.

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i am all for it. I know my 2 dogs aren't going to complain either. Late December hunts are my favorite, and hopefully I can now add a late January hunt. Snow on the ground makes for some great hunts over my pointers. Not to mention all the fair weathered hunters are done for the year.

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after mid november the pressure really drops, so if they say in good faith that the extended hunting wont affect the birds, then hey im for it. but what happens if the crp acres decline so much that bird numbers drop. are they going to trim the season back?

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I think the population is part of the thought process here. There was a good population this past fall, and it would seem the birds are wintering well...so there is probably an adequate population to support a slightly longer season. I imagine if the bird numbers drop in the future, they would trim some time off the end of the season in response.

Tough call for me. We had some good hunts in December...but had a tough decision on whether we should go pheasant hunting or ice fishing. I don't need that kind of stress in January, too...

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you also need to keep in mind that there needs to be a proper hen to rooster ratio. I dont know exactly what those numbers are, but too many rooster is bad for the hens. They compete for cover and food the rooster is usually going to come out on top.

With as good as the numbers are now it shouldnt hurt to take some more roosters in a late season hunt. If numbers decline then they just adjust the season back.

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No doubt about that but SD has the largest # of birds since 1960's? It's worked so far. Sometimes we have to step back and decide are the rules what we would like to see happen or what is best for the wild game.

Fact is w/o habitat and the plowing of CRP that is happening at a tremendous rate we won't have to worry about records numbers for much longer.

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I'd be really surprised if it went through. I see a lot of bills come through but not much get passed. If Dept of Tourism and Game & Fish are on same page then maybe it will go.

I suppose G & F can always pull the season if the numbers are way down.

Biology says you cannot over hunt these birds (at least in SD/ND).

I'm all for it. Go for early ice and then go back to birds in the dogs days of January!!

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Hey there rundrave. you got a nice looking dog! Thats all i hunt with is with shorthairs. You got females or males tha you hunt with? Also i do agree with you alot on the hunting out there. they will have to monitor the numbers real well and if they start seeing a problem they should change the seasopn.

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A longer pheasant season would be nice but I think the downside is that you're chasing the birds out of good cover, cover that they need to survive during bad weather. If the day was sunny and 25 theres no problem, it won't hurt but any good pheasant hunter knows that when the weather gets tough, like a blowing blizzard, the birds will be in the toughest cover around and thats what you'd hit, but do you really want to be running birds out into the prairie where there is no cover when a blizzard is blowing?

Lets not be killing the brood stock - the hens - just for the sake of shooting a few more roosters.

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Longer Pheasant Hunting Season Proposed

PIERRE, S.D.—South Dakota’s pheasant hunting season might get longer under a proposal being considered by the Game, Fish and Parks Commission. The proposal lengthens the season through January. In the past, the season has ended on the first Sunday in January.

“We have a lot of birds on the landscape, thus bringing many requests and questions as to why our department doesn’t adjust the pheasant season to provide more hunting opportunities. Those comments and suggestions led to many discussions amongst field staff, ultimately bringing the recommendation to lengthen the season,” said GFP Game Program Administrator Tom Kirschenmann. “There are more social issues related to the proposal than biological, as our pheasant winter sex ratio counts indicate a sufficient number of roosters available after the hunting season for spring breeding.”

According to GFP Senior Upland Game Biologist Chad Switzer, any uneasiness about flushing birds during harsh winter conditions and the undo stress applied to the birds is not a great concern as most hunting pressure occurs during favorable weather conditions, and in most cases, little hunting pressure will occur during extreme winter conditions.

“Landowners monitor weather conditions more closely than anyone, and if they feel hunting pressure will cause undo harm to wildlife, access will be limited,” Switzer said. “Similar to private land, public lands support adequate cover for birds to find refuge, whether flushed by hunters or predators.”

As proposed, the 2008 season would start on Oct. 18 and go through Jan. 31, 2009.

Assistant Wildlife Division Director George Vandel told commissioners that the change would bring the pheasant season in line with other hunting seasons that end on Jan. 31. He also noted that many of South Dakota’s hunting licenses run through Jan. 31.

In an attempt to bring uniformity to the hunting seasons, GFP staff also proposed lengthening the grouse, quail and partridge seasons to end on Jan. 31. The proposals for those seasons call for the grouse and partridge seasons to run from Sept. 20 through Jan. 31, 2009, and for the quail season to run from Oct. 18 through Jan. 31.

Another change in the pheasant season would add Gerken State Game Bird Refuge in Faulk County and the White Lake State Game Bird Refuge in Marshall County to the Unit 2 areas that have a later pheasant season starting date. Vandel noted that those refuges were closed to hunting in the past.

A longer season is also in the proposal for the youth pheasant season. The 2008 season is proposed with two additional days, running from Oct. 4 through Oct. 8. The longer season would necessitate a change in the possession limit from nine to 15 cock pheasants. The proposal also seeks to adjust the age eligibility for the season from hunters “no older than 15” to hunters “no older than 17.”

Kirschenmann said the proposed longer season was part of a trend that offers more opportunities for young hunters. He said the additional days would still allow ample time for birds to settle down before the resident only hunt the next weekend.

A proposal for the resident pheasant season to be held on public land on Oct. 11 through Oct. 13 was approved without changes from last year and is considered finalized by the commission.

The game bird hunting seasons are scheduled to be the topic of a public hearing at the commission’s April meeting in Brookings. Citizens who would like to provide written comments on the changes in the pheasant seasons may do so up until 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 2. Those comments may be mailed to Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501 or e-mailed to [email protected]. All comments must include the sender’s full name and address in order to become part of the official record.

Comments may also be presented in person at the GFP Commission meeting at the public hearing which will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at the Days Inn in Brookings.

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Hey i say go for it. Not many people hunt december let alone jan. Honestly its the best time of year for hunting if there is a good snow cover! Im hoping they do allow it. Since i get laid off in the winter months anyhow!

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Its officially not going to happen.

GF&P decides against longer pheasant season

The Game, Fish & Parks Commission decided today not to lengthen the state’s pheasant hunting season by three weeks.

The 6-1 vote means the 2008 season will run Oct. 18-Jan. 4, 2009.

State wildlife officials told the commission that the state’s estimated pheasant population in 2007 was 11.9 million birds, the largest since 1945.

“Frankly, that’s phenomenal,” said George Vandel, assistant director of the wildlife division within GF&P.

The commission received some 200 public comments on the longer-season issue and heard from 15 people at a public hearing Thursday. Its vote Friday came after about 30 minutes of discussion.

“I think overall they recognized it wasn’t a biological issue, but a social issue,” said Vandel.

A number of sportsmen’s clubs and landowners were opposed to the longer season, he said.

There was a slight increase in resident and nonresident hunters in 2007. The pheasant harvest was estimated at 2.1 million birds, a little better than 11 roosters per hunter.

The pheasant population came through winter in good shape, Vandel said.

“We’re now entering probably the most critical time period for pheasants and that is the reproductive period,” he said. “We talked (to the commission) about the necessity of having a combination of habitat and good weather for good reproduction.”

Moisture will promote spring vegetation, which supplies cover for nesting and insects for food. Once the chicks start hatching in June, warm and dry weather means a better survival rate, Vandel said.

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