Pheasant Hunting Season

Season Dates: Oct. 15, 2016 - Jan. 1, 2017

Daily Limit: 3 Rooster Pheasants
Shooting Hours: 12 Noon, Central Time for the first 7 days of the season; 10 a.m., Central Time, to sunset the rest of the season.

NOTE: Central Time is used for opening shooting hours statewide.

Resident Pheasant Opener:  October 8-10, 2016

Open Area: All of South Dakota except the following:

Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Brown County, Renziehausen Game Production Area and Game Bird Refuge in Brown and Marshall Counties, Gerken Game Bird Refuge in Faulk County and White Lake Game Bird Refuge in Marshall County are open Dec. 14, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016.

Possession Limit: 15 rooster pheasants, taken according to the daily limit. The limit accrues at the rate of 3 birds a day, and 15 birds may not be possessed until after the fifth day of hunting.

Future Opening Dates: The pheasant season traditionally opens on the third Saturday in October.

History: Ring-necked Pheasant is the state bird of South Dakota, one of only three US state birds that is not a species native to the United States.  The pheasant came to South Dakota in 1908 when a group of farmers purchased a pair of birds from an Oregon farm and released them into a field near Redfield.

The hearty pheasant not only survived but thrived on the prairie, prompting the state to purchase and release 48 additional pairs of birds. In 1919, the pheasant population was high enough for the state to hold a one-day pheasant hunting season.

Over a century later, the combination of habitat, wildlife management and fortunate weather patterns have made South Dakota a pheasant haven and a world-class hunting destination.