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Ultimate Self-Guided South Dakota Pheasant Hunting Schedule

How Are the Dates Derived on the UGUIDE Availability Page?

The dates found on the UGUIDE Availability Page have taken many years to be developed.  They are the most optimized dates per week, not only for hunters, but for the Owner Outfitters as well.  Feedback that has been received by UGUIDE over 10+ years has gone into the development of the Annual UGUIDE Pheasant Hunting Season Schedule.  Below is a discussion and description of the dates of each week in the season schedule and their value and significance.  We hope this helps you understand our system better.

Annual Schedule Variables that Affect All Weeks of the Season

Before diving into the details of each weeks hunt dates we should mention some variables that have come up over the years that have caused conflicts within our system between Owner Outfitters, Hunters and UGUIDE (The Ultimate Partnership).  These are just a few: 

  • Opener Dates Change based on 3rd Saturday start in October.  An example is one year the opener might be on the 15th and the next year it is on the 21st.  Just the shifting of these dates can cause conflicts in everyone’s calendar.  South Dakota Game and Fish determines these dates.  We do not.
  • The Thanksgiving Holiday switches between Week 6 and week 7 every several years.   Usually hunters that like the holiday week will always switch with the groups in the non holiday week when that happens.  UGUIDE facilitates this process.  Groups affected are week 6 and 7.  This issue is somewhat dependent on when opener starts but also is dependent the dates set by the holiday. Note: First right of refusal follows the week in which the holiday exists.  For example: if the holiday is in week 6 in the current year and moves to week 7 next year then you will have the right of refusal on week 7.  The converse is true for the group in week 7 or the one holding the non holiday week.
  • Days of rest between groups – Over the years we have seen the importance of maximizing the days of rest in between each weeks group contributes greatly to the quality of each groups hunt all the way from what happens between weeks 1-2 can affect the experience of everyone else in the season.  Each weeks dates are set to maximize this.
  • Owner Outfitters Need Time Between Groups to be able to clean the lodges and typically 1 day is not enough so we built in 2 days not only for cleaning but for resting the birds.
  • Hunters Schedules – Considering families, other states hunting seasons, etc.  Hunters calendars and preferences also factor into the potential conflicts with the UGUIDE season schedule.
  • Checkin/Checkout Times – Checking times are always after 3:00pm the evening before your first day of hunting.  Checkout times are always before 10:00am the morning after your last day of hunting.
  • Hunting Days Each Week – The dates in the date range of each week listed on the Availability page are the range of hunting days that can be selected from, not the actual hunting days.  We default your hunting days with the backend of each week to give you the most amount of rest ahead of your hunt.  You do have the option to move your days up if desired and those dates posted show you what the options are.
  • Camps with Variances – Some camps may have their own unique schedule.  Currently, as of 2017, Faulkton is the only camp with its own unique set of dates due to 4 day hunts minimum.

Week 1 – Season Opener

This is fairly straightforward in that the Game and Fish sets opener dates so we allow checkin after 3:00 pm the Friday night before the Saturday morning opener (usually noon and the 3rd Saturday in Oct.).  On a 3 day hunt, checkout would be before 10:00am on Tuesday morning.  If a 4 day hunt is offered then checkout would be Wed. morning.

Week 2 – Shooting Begins at 10am on Sat. 1-3 days of rest

In this week it was important to hunters to maximize the days where they could start hunting at 10am.  So a normal week 2 schedule would have a Thursday night checkin, hunt Fri-Sun, checkout Monday morning.  A 4-day hunt would be a Wed. checkin and start hunting on Thursday.  Days of rest are compressed but not as much of a factor in early season.  We assess each camp to determine if the number of habitat acres, birds, etc can sustain 4 day hunts.

Week 3 – 2-3 days of rest

In this week we allow you to start your 3 or 4 day hunt as early as Wed and your last day of hunting to be as late as Saturday within that range. Checkout will always be Sunday morning. 

Week 4 – First full week in the schedule and 3-4 days of rest

In this week we allow you to start your 3 or 4 day hunt as early as Tuesday and your last day of hunting to be as late as Saturday within that range. Checkout will always be Sunday morning. 

Week 5 – A full week in the schedule and 3-4 days of rest

In this week we allow you to start your 3 or 4 day hunt as early as Tuesday and your last day of hunting to be as late as Saturday within that range. Checkout will always be Sunday morning. 

Week 6/7 – Thanksgiving Holiday Switches Based on Year

Usually Thanksgiving is in the week 7 slot longer than it is the week 6 slot.  UGUIDE works as best as possible to facilitate a switch between weeks 6 and 7 when the holiday moves.  In years when the holiday is in week 7 then the week 6 hunting schedule would look like this: we allow you to start your 3 or 4 day hunt as early as Tuesday and your last day of hunting to be as late as Saturday within that range. Checkout will always be Sunday morning. Whatever week the holiday is in we offer the ability for groups to checking in as late as the Friday after Thanksgiving and start hunting on Sat.  So they can spend the holiday with their families.  Checkout can be as late as Tuesday.  4 day hunts would have them checking in earlier and starting hunting earlier in that week.  The week that does not have the holiday in it will look more like a normal week.  Weeks 7 or 8 may have slightly fewer rest days depending on where the holiday falls that week.  Note: First right of refusal follows the week in which the holiday exists.  For example: if the holiday is in week 6 in the current year and moves to week 7 next year then you will have the right of refusal on week 7.  The converse is true for the group in week 7 or the one holding the non holiday week.

Week 8 – “Late Season Opener” 2-4 Days of Rest

I call this late season opener because usually all the crops are certainly out by now and we may have seen our first skiff of snow and temps below freezing.  It does tend to bunch the birds up though and force them into heavier cover.  In this week we allow you to start your 3 or 4 day hunt as early as Wednesday and your last day of hunting to be as late as Sunday within that range. Checkout will always be Monday morning. 

Week 9 – “Season End” 3-? Days of Rest

This week can have some unique opportunity’s based on where it falls in the calendar.  There are usually no groups hunting after week 9 so we can facilitate a requested later starting date to build in more days of rest.  We also have some flex in case we need to adjust around major weather issues.  Game and fish also offers a half price hunting license offer if you buy on or after Dec, 15th.  Earliest hunting day start in that week is Wed.

Other Considerations

As you can see just the scheduling of the UGUIDE hunts is complex!  As such we ask that all scheduling be facilitated through UGUIDE and not through the Owner Outfitters.

We hope you feel that we have taken all week hunting interests into account here and have put forth the best scheduling system we can offer.

The same level of diligence goes into our pricing and discount system, online quote and reservation as well as our most important factor – Pheasant Producing Habitat Development.

We hope you will come and join us in the fields of South Dakota! How to Reserve Future Pheasant Hunts