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UPDATE: Federal lands to be open for SD pheasant opener

October 12, 2013 at 06:05 AM

The Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota residents who are pheasant hunters will have access to some of the best land in the state for this weekend's opener.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Friday the federal government has reopened Waterfowl Production Area lands that were closed as part of the federal government shutdown.

"I applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their decision to reopen Waterfowl Production Areas to public use," he said. "These public lands are a valuable asset to our citizens, and are of particular importance during our fall hunting seasons."

It takes effective immediately, in time for South Dakota's resident-only pheasant season that runs Saturday through Monday.

Some 150,000 acres in the national wildlife refuge system would have been off-limits. Millions of acres leased or owned by the state are also open, but the state said the federal sites offer some of the best cover for upland birds.

South Dakota's traditional statewide pheasant season opens next weekend.


Feds to reopen refuge areas used to hunt waterfowl

MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Fish and Wildlife Service says it is reopening 3 million acres in wildlife refuges to allow hunting of pheasants and waterfowl.

The sites, in 10 states, have been closed since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown.

The agency said Friday that despite limited staffing, allowing public access to Waterfowl Production Areas on wildlife refuges will not cost any money or jeopardize public safety.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple had threatened to sue unless lands in his state were opened.

Dalrymple says pheasant hunting should begin as scheduled this month. He says a government shutdown is not legal justification to close unstaffed, public lands.

The decision opens hunting areas in 10 states: North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Idaho and Maine.


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