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Pheasant Hunting in SD – Preserves or Native Wild?

In South Dakota there are two choices when it comes to hunting areas, preserves and the wild. Each carries unique factors and regulations. Preserves are set up to cater to hunters and can often boast smoother terrain and more plentiful birds. The wild might carry more adventure and challenge. Ultimately the decision is a personal preference, but a prior research will help you in your decision making and prepare you for your hunt. In the table below, you will find some of the distinguishing factors of the two areas.

  Preserve Native Wild
Hunting Seasons All or any part of the seven month period: September 1-March 31 3rd weekend of October to 1st weekend in January

Hunting Licenses

Non-resident: 1-day for $35, 5-day for $65, season for $85 Non-resident: $110 (includes two 5-day hunting periods per season)*

Hunting Limits

15 daily limit for cocks, 2 daily for wild turkeys 3 birds per day, 15 in possession

Hunting Hours

Sunrise to sunset Noon to sunset the first week and 10 AM to sunset thereafter

Hunting Acreage Size

At least 160 acres, but no more than 2,560 acre No restriction
Origin of Birds
Licensed preserves release a minimum of 600 (roosters) per year after the first year. Any number of hens can be released. They can be pen raised and/or gathered from the wild. They are marked and replaced at a one to one ratio before the next hunting day.
All birds raised by native wild hens and roosters. 

*If you purchase your hunting license after December 15th, you can use your first 5-day hunt in the current season and the following season. Otherwise, both 5-day hunts must take place in the same season.

Editor Note: Before you head out check the South Dakota Hunting Regulations.  This document is believed to be accurate when published as of March 2, 2010 but hunting regulations change yearly so please confirm this information before heading to the fields.