Tweet ThisBookmark and Share

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions


Pheasant Hunting in South Dakota
When is Pheasant Season Open in South Dakota?
SD Pheasant Season Dates : Third Saturday in October, through January 2 of the next year.  The season was expanded to include the Christmas holiday and New Years Day.  The pheasant preserve rules are different, you can hunt on a preserve until March 31 of the following year.  Normally, the preserve hunting opens two weeks early, but there are rule changes every year.

What Areas of South Dakota Are Open for Pheasant Hunting?
You must obtain permission from the landowner before pheasant hunting on private land.


Pheasant Season Open Area : ALL OF SOUTH DAKOTA except the following:
  • Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Brown County is open Dec. 13-Jan. 2 
  • Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge, Bennett County, is open Oct. 16-Jan 2. You must check in at the refuge headquarters to obtain a free permit before hunting. Permits are available at either entrance kiosk, or online at www.fws.gov 
  • 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. 13-Jan. 2. 

What is the Daily Limit for Hunting Pheasants in South Dakota?
The daily limit is 3 rooster pheasants.

What is the Possession Limit for Hunting Pheasants in South Dakota?
The possession limit is 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 pPheasant Distinguishing Featuresossessed until after the fifth day of hunting.  You must leave a distinguishing feature on the pheasant, as shown in the image, either leave the head, wing or foot on the pheasant.

On a South Dakota Pheasant preserve, you can keep 15 pheasants per day, as long as the pheasants are tagged.  The owner of the preserve will tag the birds at the end of the day.  The owner will have to put in a new pheasant for each pheasant tag they use.


What are the Hours You Can Hunt in South Dakota?
First week of hunting: The shooting hours are 12 Noon, Central Time, to sunset 
Second week thru Jan 2: 10 a.m., Central Time, to sunset
NOTE: Central Time is used for opening shooting hours statewide. 

When Does the South Dakota Pheasant Season Open?
The pheasant season traditionally opens on the third Saturday in October.

What is a pheasant preserve in South Dakota?
A pheasant preserve has different laws than regular farm or hunting ground in South Dakota. The preserve is set up by the land owner, specifically for hunting pheasants, and hence has specific hunting regulations.  Preserves allow hunters to shoot more birds, and take home (possess) more birds.

Since you can shoot more birds on a preserve, when a bird is harvested (shot and retrieved), it must be replaced.  The birds can be replaced either before or after the hunt.  All pheasants that are harvested in a South Dakota pheasant preserve are tagged.

When pheasants are replaced on a preserve, what are they replaced with?
The pheasants that are replaced are grown on a farm, and then released into the field.  This is not a release and shoot.  Most pheasants are released several days ahead of time, and there are coyotes and other animals that prey on the pheasant.  They adapt to the wild quickly, and pheasants are not shot on the ground.  All pheasants fly the same, whether born in the wild or born on a farm.  Some hunters say the wild birds are "tougher", which means they fly farther away, and take better angles away from you (harder to shoot).

What is the limit of tagged birds?
Pheasants that are taken from a preserve are tagged by the hunting lodge.  You can have up to the daily limit of tagged birds with you.  You can shoot 15 birds per day, any day of the season, and you can carry 15 birds per day with you.  If you hunted 3 days, you can carry 45 tagged birds.  They have increased this limit for certain days, because some lodges wanted to allow 20 birds during certain hunting periods.  There are some days of the pheasant hunting season that allow you to harvest and possess 20 birds per day (birds must be tagged).  Check with your lodge to see how many birds they allow you to harvest per day.

What is a South Dakota preserve only license?
A hunting preserve license allows you to only hunt a preserve.  If you are visiting a lodge that is 100% preserve, and if you are coming in from out of state, you can purchase the cheaper license, and save some money.