Grouse (Prairie Chicken & Sharptail and Ruffed) Hunting Season
Daily Limit: 3
Possession Limit: 15
Shooting Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Ruffed grouse are a forest bird found in limited numbers in the Black Hills of western South Dakota. They spend much of their time foraging on the ground in mixed woody areas. The birds are noted for their explosive takeoff and loud beating of their wings in flight.
Sharp-tailed grouse (Sharptails) and prairie chicken are closely related native birds, and are interspersed across the short grass prairie of central and western South Dakota.
Sharptails have a relatively short tail with two central feathers somewhat longer and darker than the outer tail feathers, accounting for its name. The plumage is mottled dark and light browns against a light background. Prairie chickens have a tail that is short, dark, and rounded.
Hunting grouse and prairie chicken is an exercise in...well, exercise. These birds are usually found in larger coveys in native grassland areas and are prone to be jumpy. Dedicated hunters may walk miles in pursuit of their quarry. A good hunting dog is a valuable companion for finding and flushing birds.
Sharptails and prairie chicken are among the most popular game bird species in the state. In 2008, 12,600 hunters harvested over 48,000 birds. The 2009 counts for both birds were the highest in the past decade.