South Dakota to get more private shooting preserves for pheasant hunts
PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota will get almost 20 more private shooting preserves this year which will cover an additional 18,000 acres of land.
The shooting preserves typically serve nonresident pheasant hunters who are looking for high bird numbers, The Capital Journal reported.
Jennelle Blaha, the preserve-program coordinator for the state Game, Fish and Parks Department, said economic recovery and a decrease in the state’s wild bird population has helped push for the preserve increase.
“I think more of the public is coming back to South Dakota to hunt,” Blaha said.
It’s a modest increase from last year and is the highest number of preserves in the state since 2010.
Ten preserve licenses were issued to new operators, Blaha said.
The additional preserves bring the state’s total to 215 preserves this hunting season. Brule County has the most preserves with almost 25. More than 130 private shooting preserves are along the Missouri River corridor.
Preserves reported releasing almost 440,000 rooster pheasants last year. More than 280,000 of those roosters were harvested. Almost 90 percent of the birds were raised in pens while the rest were wild birds.
In their first season, preserves are required to release 300 rooster pheasants. Afterward they must release at least 600 birds every season.
The department doesn’t compile survey data from hunters with preserve licenses, nor does the department complete brood-counts near preserves in August.