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South Dakota - Preserves vs. Native Wild Pheasant Hunts

By: Chris Hitzeman
UGUIDE Pheasant Hunting in South Dakota

An Analysis of the Differences between Preserve and Non-Preserve Pheasant Hunting Outfitters in South Dakota

Over the years, it has come to my attention that few people know or are aware of the differences in preserve and non-preserve pheasant hunting in South Dakota. Few people I know will drive 2000 miles to hunt any kind of a released or pen raised pheasant. Hunters that don?t have that requirement may find preserves attractive and

Aspect 1 - Hunting Seasons

Preserve

The season length on shooting preserves may be all or any part of the seven-month period beginning September first and ending March thirty-first of the following year.

Native Wild

Season runs from 3rd weekend in October to 1st weekend in January

Aspect 2 - Hunting Licenses

Preserve

Non-resident: You may purchase a 1-day license for $35, a 5-day for $65, or a season long license for $85

Native Wild

License fee for non-resident is $110 and includes two 5-day hunting periods per season. Generally, if you buy your license after Dec. 15th you can use your 2nd 5-day period in the following year saving you license costs.

Aspect 3 - Hunting Limits

Preserve

The maximum daily bag limit for pheasants on shooting preserves is 15 cocks. The maximum daily bag limit for wild turkeys is 2 birds. The shooting hours are restricted to sunrise to sunset each day.

Native Wild

3 birds per day and 15 in possession. Shooting hours are generally noon to sunset first week and the 10am to sunset thereafter.

Aspect 4 - Hunting Acreage Size

Preserve

Must be at least 160 and not to exceed 2,560 acres

Native Wild

No restriction in acreage size

Aspect 5 - Where do birds come from?

Preserve

On a licensed preserve a minimum of 300 birds must be released the first year and 600 each year thereafter. All birds released must be roosters and must be marked by toe-clipping or enlarged nare (nostrils). Preserves can release hens but they do not count towards mandated numbers or birds. If 800 birds are harvested (680 pen raised and 120 wild) the 800 roosters must be released in their place. Replacement birds must be released before hunting can be started on next day. Shooting preserve tags must be placed on leg or neck or all birds harvested on preserve.

Native Wild

All birds are raised by native wild hens and roosters in the wild. Habitat is key to the sustainability of this type of operation.