Britton-Hecla’s football team celebrated as it was about to run through the student tunnel following a first-round win over Clark-Willow Lake on Thursday. The Braves, who have compiled an 8-1 season record, host Canistota-Freeman in quarterfinal action this Thursday at 7 p.m. See game details and preview on page 6.
Pheasants Hard To Find
Survey results that indicated a 45 percent drop in the pheasant population this fall proved to be on target as hunters struggled to bag the ringnecks on the opening weekend Saturday and Sunday.
Windy conditions both days also contributed to hunters’ lack of success, making it more difficult to bring down the state bird.
But predictions and weather didn’t prevent South Dakota communities from rolling out the orange carpet for pheasant hunters.
“The pheasant hunting opportunities continue to be the best in the country,” said South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler.
Hunters averaged just a half bird to a bird across the state. The northeast Region reported hunters averaging a half bird each, the Southeast one bird per hunter, and the Western Region less than one bird per hunter.
However, Marshall County Conservation Officer Casey Dowler said hunters in the county fared a little better.
“I was pleasantly surprised at the number of birds that hunters saw, and hunters were pretty upbeat about the numbers,” said Dowler. “In Marshall County the average was 1.0-1.5 birds per hunter. Those that were lucky enough to hunt near harvested crops did fairly well.”
Dowler said that there were a few road hunting issues during the opening weekend, but he said “other than that hunters behaved themselves pretty well.”
Numbers of hunters were also reported to be down across the state. Officials attributed that to less than ideal weather conditions as well as the prediction of fewer pheasants this fall.
Areas to hunt have increased this fall. Over 8,000 new acres have been enrolled in the Walk-IN-Area hunting access program within the pheasant range, adding to over one million acres of existing publicly-owned land and privately leased land open for public hunting.
South Dakota’s pheasant season runs through Jan. 7, 2018. Hunters may take to the field a little earlier beginning next Saturday when the starting time changes from noon to 10 a.m. until sunset.