Pheasant Hunting is Big Business
Ring-necked pheasants, which share South Dakota's grasslands and wetlands with waterfowl, are an important economic resource in the Mount Rushmore State. While last season's financial figures are not yet available, resident and nonresident upland gunners spent nearly $220 million here in 2009.
South Dakota remains one of only a few midwestern states whose pheasant population has remained strong—often upwards of 8 million birds. Hunters have bagged more than a million roosters every year here since 1992. The daily limit remains three per day.
More than 5 million acres of public land and leased private land are open to the public. Walk-in areas leased for public access are clearly marked with signs. Those who wish to hunt on private land are advised to make arrangements prior to their trip to South Dakota.
The pheasant season typically opens in mid-October and runs through the first of January. Nonresident small-game licenses are available for a total of 10 days in two five-day periods. Pheasant brood counts for specific areas are normally posted online around September 1.
Nonresident waterfowl hunters who wish to hunt ducks in South Dakota must apply for a limited number of permits chosen by lottery prior to the season. Check with the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department (gfp.sd.gov
) for details.
To see more of David Sams' photos and watch video of the author's incredible South Dakota duck hunt, visit the DU website at www.ducks.org/SouthDakota