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Daugaard: Federal land will be open for hunts

PIERRE (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.

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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 effect immediately, in time for South Dakota’s resident-only pheasant season that runs today through Monday.

Some 150,000 acres in the national wildlife refuge system would have been offlimits. 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.

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