South Dakota Pheasant Season

An avid wingshooter brings you the story of what turned out to be a tough but rewarding pheasant season.

2009: A Most Challenging Year 
Each and every South Dakota pheasant season is unique. Weather, field and crop conditions combine to determine behavior patterns of the birds and present changing conditions that even the most seasoned hunters must fight to overcome.

The 2009 season was perhaps the most unique in the last 12 years. Frequent rain left fields wet, drowning over 95 percent of the crops, which remained standing through the first three weeks of the season.

Pheasants stayed in the crops for longer periods and had a ready escape when roosting. The crop fields were too big to effectively push birds. The ditches where birds normally roost were filled with water, making traipsing through the wet fields an exhausting task. The temperature was cold and the wind was sharp.

The CRP fields held deep water in any low place, which created a tough task for even the best dogs. Birds held very tight and ran for considerable distances until making a break to fly back into the abundant crop fields.

Local stores brought in pallets of knee boots and hip waders. Bars buzzed about the wettest season in a decade. A large number of hunters went out, then cut their trips short saying they will return closer to Thanksgiving when the fields are clear and the ground frozen.

My group has four core members connected by business and church. Two arrived from Connecticut, one from Minneapolis and the other lives in Aberdeen, where we hunt for three days each year.

Continue to Day 1....

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1 Response to South Dakota Pheasant Season

Moses wrote:
December 15, 2009

Excited to learn that you are a fellow member. Just reminiscing on Thanksgiving Day how I would get up before dawn and track in the wood with Steve Smith. Often come home empty handed but enjoyed the dinner, a few minutes of football on TV and a nice long nap.