A large amount of crops still waiting to be harvested made it difficult for some hunters to find pheasants during the opening weekend of South Dakota's season.
But a state wildlife official says many hunters still got birds, and success rates should improve as the season continues.
A statement released by the department says the bird count in the southeast region of South Dakota ranged between one-half bird per hunter in the east and 1.5 birds in the west. The most populated area to hunt was near Mitchell to the east of Chamberlain.
South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks conservation officer Andy Petersen estimates the average bird count in the Mitchell area was one bird per hunter.
In August, the department reported a 20 percent decrease in statewide pheasants-per-mile index compared to 2015.