Pheasant Hunters
SD Pheasant Hunting

Get a Pheasant Hunting License

A small game license is required to pheasant hunt in South Dakota. It also allows you to hunt a wide variety of other game, like grouse, gray partridge, quail and more. 

Carry a SoDAK Hunting License on Your SmartPhone

Create an account and register to get your license online at Go Outdoors South Dakota. You can also download the free Go Outdoors SD mobile app with Google Play or the App Store to renew, purchase and store your licenses and reservations on your smartphone or tablet. For visitors, you will want to obtain the Nonresident Hunting & Trapping License (different fees apply depending on the species you're hunting, number of days, and age).

Please note  updated GF&P system means anyone with a pre-2022 account will need to set up a new one. No problem! Whether you’re buying your first license or your 40th, it’s easy to set up your new account before you buy your license.

 The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks allows you to carry a digital copy of your small game, fishing or trapping license with you instead of a paper copy. Paper copies are still valid, but the digital version's bar code can be scanned and recognized as your official license.

Best SODAK towns For Pheasant Hunting

South Dakota has more than 5 million free-access acres open to hunting. Some are federal and state-owned grounds, while even more are private areas leased for public hunting. Scout your outing with SD Game, Fish and Parks satellite maps. Some of the more sought-after areas in in the state for pheasant hunting lie within the Central Missouri River region and the Northeast Glacial Lakes/Prairies region.

Premier pheasant hunting destinations in the south Central region to set up your basecamp for hunting season include: Mobridge with its 1960's Pheasant Drive-In movies, Winner's Tripp County farmland (ranked #1 in South Dakota for pheasants harvested), Mitchell (home to the Pheasant County Chapter of Pheasants Forever), the reservations lands and national grasslands of Pierre, as well as Chamberlain/Oacoma (known for one of the top pheasant-producing spots in South Dakota). Towns best known for top-notch pheasant hunting and harvesting in the Northeast are: Huron (known as "Ringneck Nation" and home to the World's Largest Pheasant statue) Aberdeen with the most Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) walk-in hunting land in the state, WatertownBrookings and Redfield (aka the "Pheasant Capital of the World”).

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Resident & Nonresident Licenses

There are differences between resident and nonresident licenses but the buying process is the same. Take note of the different season dates, get your license, and plan your outdoor adventure.

An updated GF&P system means it might be time to set up a new account! Whether you’re buying your first license or your 40th, it’s easy to set up youraccount before you buy your license. Don’t let anything get between you and the field this year. Set up your new account by clicking here

Youth-Only Pheasant Season

Start Date: September 28, 2024

End Date: October 6, 2024

Resident-Only Pheasant Season

Start Date: October 12, 2024

End Date: October 14, 2024

Traditional Pheasant Season

Start Date: October 19, 2024

End Date: January 31, 2025

Pheasant hunters walking in corn field

Buy in South Dakota

Hunters can buy licenses from 255 registered sales agents in South Dakota (like select gas stations and bait shops). Find locations online or call SD GFP at (605) 223-7660 and they’ll point you in the direction of the nearest agent. 

Young hunter holding a pheasant with other hunters in the background

Buy Online

To purchase online, visit the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks website and go to the licenses page. At the top, you’ll see an option to purchase or view your license. Follow the link and either sign in or and select “new user” on the welcome screen. From there, all you’ll need a driver’s license or state-issued ID and a major credit card. You’ll need a hunter safety ID as well if you are buying a license for a youth hunt.


Nonresident Licenses Special Information

Nonresident licenses are for anyone who does not live in the state of South Dakota. They are redeemable for two 5-day hunting periods. A little tip for selecting your dates: Choose your first hunting period for when you plan to visit South Dakota. Then, if you aren’t sure when you’ll be back for the second trip, choose the last week the calendar will allow. You can always move these dates up on the calendar, but you can’t move them back. 


Yellow lab chasing a pheasant with two hunters behind in the field

Nonresident Shooting Preserve Licenses

Shooting Preserve Licenses allow nonresidents to hunt on licensed shooting preserves and take the small game for which that preserve is licensed. They are available for the following periods: one day, 5-day period, season long.

Black lab holding a pheasant in its mouth

Bringing Your Dog to South Dakota

Your hunting buddy is welcome in South Dakota! And while a rabies vaccination for your dog is mandatory, you don’t need to bring a health certificate if you’ll be here for less than 30 days. Check out the Hunting and Trapping Handbook for details. 


View some common questions below or contact SD Game, Fish and Parks for additional clarification at [email protected] or 605-223-7660.


How do I get a copy of my small game license?


The small game hunting license asks for two five-day periods, what should I put down for the second period if I don’t know when I'm going to be able to hunt again?


Can I carry my license on my smartphone or in the app?

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