Call it a sneak preview. South Dakotans can hit selected areas for pheasant hunting this weekend.

Starting Saturday October 10 at noon South Dakotans can hunt on public lands for three days ending Monday October 12 prior to the traditional opener on October 17. Emmett Keyser from the Game Fish and Parks says the regular bag limit of three roosters per day does apply.

Understandably people might be a little eager to get out and hunt as soon as the clock strikes 12 bells. Keyser says for the best chance to succeed on public land patience is a virtue.

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“My advice is to not worry about getting out there for the start of things at noon,” says Keyser. “Hit some of those public areas late in the afternoon about 3:30 or 4:00 PM. That’s when those birds move back in there to roost.”

Additionally, Keyser says the pheasant population will be about 42 percent higher than last year. “It looks pretty good based on our brood survey that we conducted at the end of July.”

Most of the best pheasant numbers will be in the traditional areas such as along the Missouri River from Winner to Mobridge. Keyser also says the area between Huron and Mitchell is also looking pretty strong.