Two Pheasant Hunters in a field in South Dakota
Wide Open Spaces

Public vs. Private Land: South Dakota Pheasant Hunting is Great Either Way

South Dakota is full of prime pheasant hunting opportunities.

For upland bird hunters, South Dakota is at the top of a short list of states for the pheasant hunting trip of a lifetime. The state has just the right mixture of wild areas and agriculture that allows the birds to thrive. It's also chock full of hunting opportunities on both public and private lands that just about any hunter can take advantage of on any given day.

We recently got the chance to travel to Brown County, South Dakota, which is widely considered the pheasant hunting capitol of the state. It didn't take long for us to find out why. Because when it comes to pheasant hunting opportunities, there is no shortage. We met up with Chris Goldade, the Regional Habitat Program Manager with the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department at one of the many public areas around the greater Aberdeen area.

The video below showcases how our day went and how the public land opportunities compare to a guided hunt on private land specifically managed to be a pheasant hunting hotspot. What we discovered was that opportunities abound in South Dakota as far as the upland bird hunting goes, and your hunt is whatever you make of it.

As is usually the case, public land is always going to make for a more challenging hunt than on specially managed private land. That's just the name of the game. It also helps when the guided portion of the hunt had more hunters and dogs in our group to flush more birds. Expect to work for it more on the public lands than the private by default. When speaking with the locals, many recommended booking a day with a guide on private land and attempting to hunt public lands DIY-style for a full and varied experience pursuing South Dakota pheasants.

You can read more about accessing excellent tracts of public hunting land in our more extensive South Dakota pheasant hunting guide. Either way, we had a great time hunting for pheasants on this trip and it made us want to book another trip next season. If you're looking for the best pheasant hunting on the planet, South Dakota is the way to go.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels