7 things you need to know before you head out for the opening day of pheasant hunting

RAPID CITY, S.D.- Saturday, October 15 is the start of pheasant hunting season in South Dakota. Hunters from all over the world travel to the state for this specific sport, and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Conservation Officer Chris Dekker has a few reminders for making sure that your experience is safe and fun. 

What time can I start?

10 a.m. Central Time is when you can start shooting, or if you live west river, 9 a.m. Mountain Time. This way, everyone gets to start together.


What time do I need to be done?

Hunters must be done shooting at sunset.

What kind of pheasants can I harvest?

Roosters. “If you are having a successful day and you’re going to be out there cleaning birds, remember to leave proof of sex attached to your clean birds. So if you do get stopped by one of the Conservation Officers, we’re able to readily count those birds and identify them as roosters,” says Officer Dekker.

How many pheasants can I harvest each day?

3 roosters can be harvested per day, and up to 15 in possession.

Do I need to use a shotgun plug?

No, you’re not required to have a plug if you’re hunting pheasants. However, Officer Dekker suggests that “if you’re going to be out there and you’re going maybe try doing a little duck hunting in the morning, make sure you have that plug in the gun. And if you’re like me, I just leave my plug in year-round so I don’t have to try and remember when I got to put it back in.”

 Do I have to wear orange?

By law, pheasant hunters aren’t required to wear their orange gear, but it’s always strongly encouraged. “I can tell you from personal experience, most of the hunting incidences that I deal with, the hunters that got shot were not wearing blaze orange,” Officer Dekker says. “Wear that orange, that makes you more visible. Wear an orange hat, wear an orange vest. Just make yourself as easily visible as possible.”

How can I be kind to the environment?

Marshlands can be dry, and windy days pose a particular fire danger. By taking precautions like not parking on tall grass, you can help make sure that you’re not the cause of an ignition. Officer Dekker also reminds hunters to pack out their trash. “We as hunters need to set a good example and show what we are about,” he says. “We’re about conservation and preserving our natural resources, and that starts with making sure we take care of and police our own trash.”

Categories: South Dakota News