Hunters bag fewer birds for opener

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

 

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Pheasants were  “few and far between” according to Donte Weed, a pheasant hunter from Foreman, AR. This seemed to be the general consensus among hunters in our area opening weekend.

 

According to the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks, loss of habitat and adverse weather conditions are leading factors in this year’s low pheasant population.

 

Six hunters shot eight roosters near Tad Flood’s rural De Smet home on opening day. “It was tough going,” Flood said.

 

Mark Qualseth of Plymouth, Minn., is a high school friend of Flood’s. He has been coming here to hunt for 13 years.

 

“Tad’s got a nice place,” he said.  Qualseth’s friends, Tom Hodorff and Ron Henry, and Flood’s brothers-in-law Dan Buchholz and Bruce Gephart rounded out the hunting party. The men said they saw a lot of hens, but not many roosters.

 

Another Arkansas hunter, Mike Gilsinger, said his party of 20 hunters shot 14 birds on opening day Oct. 19 near Carthage. The group usually makes their limit of 3 roosters a day per hunter.

 

Gilsinger has made an annual hunting trip to South Dakota for the past couple decades. He said this might have been the worst year he can remember as far as bird numbers go, but that they still had fun.

 

Gilsinger’s cousin Ed Colvard echoed the sentiment.

 

“It was very disappointing, but it didn’t dampen our spirits at all. We had family with us,” he said.

 

“As expected, it was a pretty disappointing opener for pheasants,” Volga hunter Wade Harkema said. He saw one rooster during his first half-hour of hunting near Carthage, then nothing but hens for the next few hours. “The good thing is, there are a lot of hens. Lets hope there is some cover for them to nest next year,” he said.

 

Donna Palmlund

Staff Writer

The De Smet News

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