By Bryan Horwath firstname.lastname@example.org
With the 2014 pheasant hunting season closing today at sunset, state Game, Fish and Parks conservation officer Nick Cochran reported that the season has generally been a success.
Following a disappointing hunt last year, Cochran’s thumbs-up is welcomed news for many, though the numbers for this season so far seem to suggest optimism should be of the cautious variety.
“From everything that I’ve seen, we’ve had a pretty good pheasant season,” said Cochran, who is based in Brown County. “Pheasant numbers are up from last year. We know that nonresident license sales were down last year from 2012 and it doesn’t look like there will be a big change this year, but things are improving.”
Interviewed for an American News story that was published early last month, GFP administrative resources chief Scott Simpson reported that just over 76,000 nonresident licenses had been sold with about 10 days remaining before the Dec. 15 cutoff date for the 2014 season.
Assuming only a moderate change to that number, South Dakota would be very close to the 2013 number of 76,296 nonresident licenses sold, which represented a big drop from the more than 95,000 sold for 2012.
Still, Aberdeen’s Tim Kessler, who sits on the Pheasants Forever national board of directors and is a member of Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s pheasant habitat workgroup, said the 2014 season was good one and that the number of nonresident licenses will likely tick back up with time.