South Dakota reigns as a premier location for pheasant hunting. Possibly one of the many reasons for its dominance in the field is the fact that there are so many levels or methods available. The methods listed below are based upon what you desire to achieve in your hunting experience and how much cash you are willing to spend.
Method 1: On Your Own
Hunters that function in this category travel a few hours to a desired location, stay in a hotel, and eat at cafes or from a non-perishable food stash. They hunt in public lands, ditches, sloughs, swamps, and sometimes private land (if they can contact the landowner). The hunting is sometimes excellent and sometimes awful, but quite rarely consistent. In this method, hunters follow their own agenda and do not spend much money.
Method 2: Private, but free
Farmers and other landowners can offer their private land on which to hunt. It can be very hard to find, but if you take the time to build relationships with farmers, you may earn the right to hunt on their land. However, the farmer is potentially losing money after building up the habitat.
Method 3: Private, fee required
Landowners across South Dakota have land that is desirable to hunters (and often do little or nothing to maintain it). Some of these landowners charge a fee for hunters to use the property for hunting. These opportunities can be hard to find, as they are usually advertised in local newspapers, shops, and public bulletin boards. There is likely no guarantee as to the number of birds or the quality of the habitat, but these will probably be the least expensive rates in fee-based hunting.
Method 4: Private with lease
There is private land available where hunters can hunt with a South Dakota Pheasant Hunting Lease. In this case, the hunter has privileges to that land for the entire season. The landowner only deals with one person or group. Usually in these types of lease agreements, the landowner gives up any rights to hunt the land himself, or allow anyone besides the lessee to hunt there. This may be an ideal scenario for a group of hunters that wants exclusive rights to the land. However, the habitat quality may be lower due to the landowner’s income only coming from one group the entire season.
Method 5: Preserves
In South Dakota preserves are fed with pen-raised birds, but they also have wild birds. They are mandated to release a certain number of birds based on the birds harvested. Preserves are open from September through March; license fees and hunting fees are often higher, but so are the limits. 1-day, 5-day, and season-long licenses are available. Some preserves offer lodging, dining, and all-inclusive packages.
Method 6: Guided Hunting of Wild Birds
Booked a year or more in advance, experienced guides can create a fabulous South Dakota hunting experience. With a good operation, you will be hunting behind top breed, highly trained dogs. However, good guides may be hard to find.
Method 7: The Celebrity Package
For those with deep pockets, there are all-inclusive hunt lodges that offer everything from exquisite accommodations and cuisine to professional guides and bird processing. If you have the cash, this could be a luxurious getaway combined with the sportsman’s paradise.
There are so many pheasant hunting options in South Dakota, but it is important to do a little research to make sure that your experience is the best quality, no matter which method fits you best. GameBirdHunts offers a wide range of different outfitters and guide services. To find a SD Pheasant Hunting Guide follow this link