South Dakota: Hunter’s Paradise for Pheasants and Waterfowl

by Matthew Gindorff
Location: South Dakota

There’s no doubt that South Dakota is a bird hunter’s paradise. Every fall the vast fields turn tan and October brings the orange glow of upland hunters who’ve made the pilgrimage to chase roosters. Years ago, South Dakota made a commitment to become the pheasant capital of the world and the state uses this natural resource to drive tourism. Did you know the average annual pheasant harvest during the past 10 years is 1.2 million roosters?

What many hunters don’t realize is that the prairie pothole country in this state offers some of the best waterfowl hunting in North America. I believe this option is overlooked because, unlike other states, waterfowlers must draw this license through a process similar to drawing western big game tags. This is a limited issue license awarded by lottery draw. Applications become available in June and the draw happens in July. Hunters can apply as both individuals and as a group. Due to the limited entry process, a restricted number of nonresidents are awarded this opportunity, and only a few outfitters and lodges offer this special waterfowl/pheasant combo.

One of WTA’s premier pheasant destinations just happens to be in the heart of both pheasant and waterfowl country in the north-central part of the state. With as many waterfowl guides and dogs on staff as pheasants guides, this destination specializes in this unique combo opportunity.

Pheasant hunting tends to take a “gentleman’s approach,” meaning that pheasant hunts don’t begin much before 10:00 a.m. Those fortunate enough to draw a waterfowl license can rise with the sun to chase waterfowl, return to the lodge to swap waders for upland boots, and then hit the pheasant fields. This combo-style hunt is available to all proactive travelers who reserve a pheasant slot prior to July. Hunters with a pheasant booking receive a welcome packet, including instructions to apply for a South Dakota waterfowl license. Once a successful draw result is revealed in July, you have the option to add morning waterfowl hunts for an additional $200 per day. 

Call WTA at 800-346-8747 now to get your pheasant hunt booked. And what the heck, let’s get you in the waterfowl draw and turn your great pheasant hunt into a truly world-class wing shooting combo adventure in South Dakota this season!

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