Governor's Pheasant Habitat Summit

December 6, 2013
Huron, SD
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Season Information

Season Dates: Oct. 18, 2014 - Jan 4, 2015

Open Area: All of South Dakota except the following:

  • Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Brown County, Renziehausen Game Production Area and Game Bird Refuge in Brown and Marshall Counties, Gerken Game Bird Refuge in Faulk County and White Lake Game Bird Refuge in Marshall County are open Dec. 8, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015

Daily Limit: 3 rooster pheasants

Possession Limit: 15 rooster pheasants, taken according to the daily limit. The limit accrues at the rate of 3 birds a day, and 15 birds may not be possessed until after the fifth day of hunting.

Shooting Hours: 12 Noon, Central Time for the first 7 days of the season; 10 a.m., Central Time, to sunset the rest of the season. NOTE: Central Time is used for opening shooting hours statewide.

Future Opening Dates: The pheasant season traditionally opens on the third Saturday in October.

License Requirements

  • Residents = Small Game License, or Combination License, or Junior Combination License, or Youth Small Game License; or 1-Day Small Game License.
  • Nonresidents = Nonresident Small Game License, or Nonresident Youth Small Game License (each valid for two 5-day hunting periods; start dates must be identified before license issued)
  • Buy license online >
  • Buy license from License Agent >


Pheasant Outlook

To gauge how good pheasant hunting can be in South Dakota, you need to consider a bad year.

The last time hunters harvested fewer than 1 million roosters during a South Dakota season was in 1992, and that was almost 970,000. Since 1926 the state's harvest total has been under 1 million birds only 21 times, and only four times under a half-million.

It is no coincidence that almost all of those occurred in a stretch from 1965 through 1990, the timeframe between the Soil Bank and Conservation Reserve Program agriculture set-aside programs. These government programs resulted in prime pheasant habitat. Prime habitat breeds prime pheasant numbers.

Pheasant Ecology - This 6 part series from the SD Conservation Digest takes a view at the different cycles of a pheasant throughout the year.

2012 Pheasant Hunter and Pheasant Distribution Map

View Larger Map

Historical Stats

The pheasant season has a long history in our state, and here is a look at past pheasant and hunter numbers.

Economic Estimate

You heard it here first ....pheasant hunting is a vital part of local and statewide economics.

Management Plan