A new bill would label opossums a predator

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RAPID CITY S.D. (KOTA TV) - You might see them during the night, scrounging through your garbage or on the side of the road: opossums. But, a new house bill might make them less common.

Currently, you can only kill opossums during certain months of the year. House Bill 1242 would change that.

Tuesday, the bill was read in the Senate and referred to a Senate Ag Committee for review.

The bill aims to protect pheasants, as their eggs often fall prey the nest-dwelling mammals. Pheasant hunting in South Dakota is a huge industry but some warn that if opossums continue to kill pheasant eggs, the number of hunters coming into the state could decrease.

"Governor Noem's Habitat Initiatives, in particular, the efforts to trap and take nest predators for pheasants and upland game and try to bolster those populations," says John Kanta with the Western South Dakota Game Fish & Parks.

Although pheasant hunting is a more prevalent activity in East River, the bill would allow the disposal of opossums across the state.