HURON –— Sales are down significantly for licenses that can be used for hunting pheasants in South Dakota, the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission learned Thursday.
Through Nov. 25 hunters purchased approximately 7,000 fewer resident small-game licenses; 800 fewer resident youth small-game; 17,000 fewer non-resident small-game; and about 750 fewer non-resident youth small-game.
The decreases ranged from 14 to 26 percent depending on the type.
“Not surprising,” GFP director of administration Chris Petersen told commissioners.
There were small drops in combination licenses and youth combination licenses bought by residents, but those were offset by higher sales of combination licenses to senior citizens.
Combination licenses cover fishing and small-game hunting.
There were small upticks in 1-day and 5-day preserve licenses sold to non-residents.
The update came on the eve of the Governor’s Pheasant Summit being held in Huron today.
Pheasant population estimates were down sharply across much of South Dakota this fall heading into the 2013 season.
Officials said more than 500 people registered in advance to participate in the day-long summit, including U.S. Sen. John Thune. A spokesperson announced Thursday that he intends to attend part of the event.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard called for the summit to address pheasant hunting and habitat. The event starts at 9 a.m. CST at the Crossroads Hotel and Convention Center in Huron.
The presentations also will be shown by South Dakota Public Broadcasting on its web site at www.sdpb.org/live. Three members of Daugaard’s Cabinet will participate: GFP Secretary Jeff Vonk; Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen; and Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch.
Others on the agenda are state Wildlife Director Tony Leif, South Dakota State University agriculture and biological sciences dean Barry Dunn, Pheasants Forever representative Dave Nomsen and consultant Bruce Knight.