South Dakota Pheasant Hunt


South Dakota pheasant hunting is epic – one of the great wing shoots of North America. Early season hunting is in progress and getting a vacancy at a hunting lodge can be difficult, yet this video shows how great the less popular late season wing shooting can be. More so, with crops picked and snow covering much of the land, roosters are forced into dense cover where the action can be incredible. If the cartoon creators at Warner Brothers had hunted South Dakota pheasants, they surely would have replaced the roadrunner with the ringneck. I participated in the Governor’s Pheasant Hunt a few years ago, a chance to bring celebrities and journalist together for a great time and to help spread the word about South Dakota’s great hunting opportunities. I rode shotgun in the first vehicle to the farm which meant I got to open gates. As we pulled off the road about to enter our first hunting location, I can remember stepping from the cab of the pickup and seeing pheasant roosters flush a quarter mile away… and we weren’t even in the field. As we walked through the cornfield, dozens of roosters flushed at a time, most well out of shotgun range. To counter this ultra-wild behavior, a typical South Dakota pheasant hunt involves “pushers” and “standers” somewhat like a deer drive. Everyone wears blaze orange hats and vests for safety, yet events get absolutely crazy as the two groups meet and cockbirds explode in every direction. Even with a dozen or more hunters working in unison, pheasants will sneak back through the drive or flush to the side avoiding the standers. In late season, much of the prairie and agricultural fields become covered in snow which forces pheasant flocks into smaller patches of heavy cover and birds tend to stay put instead of running. If you love wingshooting action, this hunt is for you: