A black dog runs toward the camera in a field beside the words HUNT THE GREATEST SOUTH DAKOTA
South Dakota Pheasant Hunting

The Greatest Thrill

It's the cackle of a rooster. The rush of the flush. The tailgate talks at the end of the field and the stories at the end of the day. A hunt in the world's greatest pheasant country is a thrill like no other.

See how easy it is to experience it for yourself, especially during what's looking to be the best year of South Dakota hunting ever!

Get Your License

Licenses are sold at more than 400 locations across the state, but you can save some time by buying online. Click the box and pack your bags – the best hunt of your life is waiting in South Dakota.

What Makes South Dakota the Greatest?

Anyone who’s walked our fields knows why they keep coming back. From 2022 to 2023, the pheasant harvest increased by 7.3 percent for a total of 1.2 million birds! You’d have to add up the total harvests from neighboring states to get numbers like ours. And the way things are looking, 2024 is going to be a record-breaker, thanks to conservation efforts and ideal weather conditions.

Let the Planning Begin

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Two hunters wearing orange hold shotguns standing in a field with two dark-colored dogs between them

 

This year alone, hunters from across the state are reporting excellent bird numbers, with many commenting how numbers are up from previous years! We have the most birds in the country, but the fun goes beyond the field —  no place caters to hunters like South Dakota.

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A smiling hunter decked out in orange shirt and hat pets a white and a black dog in the field

 

“The people here are really special. That’s what makes the hunt. I have repeat hunters who say they’ve never met a rude person in South Dakota. Then, of course, we have the habitat. So it’s the people and the birds that really make our state special.”

Steve Halverson, owner of Halverson Hunts

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Three hunters and a dog look up as a pheasant flies overhead in a field

 

“I love South Dakota pheasant hunting because it’s one of the most adrenaline rushing hunts you can go on. There’s the excitement of birds getting up right to you – and there’s the chance to make memories with your favorite people. I love it.”

Grace Sargent, pheasant hunter

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Hunters smile in the firelight after a successful day of hunting in South Dakota

 

“I love spending time with my kids outdoors. And pheasant hunting is a great way to do it. They can take a shot and miss, and that's okay, but the fun part is putting them in a position where they can be successful.”

Doug Sargent, pheasant hunter

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Profile shot of a black dog holding a pheasant in its mouth

 

“For me it's really getting out into the field. It's the sun bathing over the landscape and the way the adrenaline hits you when a bird flushes. It's all of those experiences in the field for me, that really make me love it.”

Erica Yost, Pheasants Forever

Group of four adults in orange vests and hunting gear in a field in South Dakota.
Set Up Your GF&P Account

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks recently updated their system, meaning anyone with an account opened prior to 2022 will need to set up a new one. Whether you're buying your first license or your 40th, it's easy to open a new account before you purchase your license. Click the link below to get started. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

Where is the best place to hunt if I’ve never hunted in South Dakota before?

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Do I need to hire a guide or work through a lodge to hunt or is there good public land opportunities as well?

Q:

Is South Dakota mostly wild birds or are there pen-raised birds?

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What is the current outlook for this year’s hunting?

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What other opportunities are there to experience while I’m pheasant hunting?

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How do I obtain a hunting license to hunt in South Dakota?

Tailgate Talks

Everyone hunts for a different reason. The habitat, the company, the rush of the flush – it’s all part of the great South Dakota experience.

Female pheasant hunter in a field
Play Video

Erica Hill

Pheasants Forever representative Erica Hill talks conservation and why she’s passionate about preserving habitat.

Father and daughter pheasant hunters
Play Video

Sargent Family

Spending time with the people you’re closest to: that’s what hunting the greatest is all about.

A female hunter smiles while holding a gun and walking through a brown South Dakota field
FEATURED SPORTSWOMEN RESOURCES

Find helpful tips for hunting around South Dakota – and stories from the women who have been there and done that.

2022 Pheasant Harvest Report

“South Dakota is the greatest state in the country to pheasant hunt,” said Kevin Robling, GFP Secretary. “The harvest numbers show exactly why: hunters are going to find abundant birds across the state all season long.”

- Kevin Robling, GFP Secretary

Planning Tools

Planning Tools

Whether you’re looking for a guided lodge experience or a public land adventure, we’ve got the resources to get you started. 

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Free South Dakota Hunting Packet

Includes the Hunting & Trapping Handbook from Game, Fish & Parks, a South Dakota Vacation Guide and a State Highway Map.

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