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Grouse (prairie chicken, Sharp-tailed AND Ruffed)

 

Season Dates: Sept. 16, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018
Open Area: Statewide
Daily Limit: 3
Possession Limit: 15
Shooting Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Prairie Grouse Hunting Forecast
Prairie Grouse Wing Box Collections
Prairie Grouse Management Plan for South Dakota, 2017-2021

Ruffed grouse are a forest bird found in limited numbers in the Black Hills of western South Dakota. They spend much of their time foraging on the ground in mixed woody areas, especially in and around aspen groves. The birds are noted for their explosive takeoff and loud beating of their wings in flight. Ruffed grouse are considered excellent table fare.

Sharp-tailed grouse (Sharptails) and prairie chicken, collectively referred to as prairie grouse, are closely related native birds are distributed across the short grass prairie of central and western South Dakota.

Sharptails have a relatively short tail with two central feathers somewhat longer and darker than the outer tail feathers, accounting for its name. The plumage is mottled dark and light browns against a light background. Prairie chickens have a tail that is short, dark, and rounded.

Hunting prairie grouse is an exercise in...well, exercise. These birds are usually found in larger coveys in native grassland areas and are prone to be jumpy. Dedicated hunters may walk miles in pursuit of their quarry. A good hunting dog is a valuable companion for finding and flushing/pointing birds.

License Requirements:

Grouse Harvest distribution map

South Dakota Grouse Lek Survey Data

Sharp-tailed Grouse
Year
Sq. Miles
# Leks surveyed
# Males
Males/Lek
Males/Sq.Mile
2008
326
48
518
10.8
1.6
2009
366
55
671
12.2
1.8
2010
286
46
479
10.4
1.7
2011
340
43
433
10.1
1.3
2012
366
37
294
7.9
0.8
2013
326
33
276
8.4
0.8
2014
302
29
191
6.6
0.6
2015
366
39
281
7.2
0.8
2016
340
34
405
11.9
1.2
2017
364
28
361
12.9
1
Prairie Chicken
Year
Sq. Miles
# Leks surveyed
# Males
Males/Lek
Males/Sq.Mile
2008
220
25
178
7.1
0.8
2009
260
34
310
9.1
1.2
2010
220
29
216
7.4
1.0
2011
260
34
258
7.6
1.0
2012
260
20
195
9.8
0.8
2013
220
27
218
8.1
1.0
2014
196
22
151
6.9
0.8
2015
260
20
194
9.7
0.7
2016
234
33
341
10.3
1.5
2017
258
30
400
13.3
1.6