The Million Dollar Hunting Experience

Relive your great hunt. Share your story and get entered to win great prizes!

The person with the most votes will receive a 2018 hunting package including a guided group hunt with a premier outfitter, lodging, travel and meal stipends, and a new Winchester SX4 Black Shadow shotgun. Other great prizes include a Mud River gun sleeve, upland hunting clothing and a custom video of Your Great Hunt.

The runner up will receive a Winchester SX4 Black Shadow shotgun and a two night stay at an Aberdeen hotel during the 2018 hunting season.

Share your hunting story!


Pheasant Hunting

Aberdeen, South Dakota is THE place to hunt wild pheasants. The Aberdeen area has been named first in the state for being one of the top producing locations to harvest roosters in South Dakota. With more than 322,000 acres of land, Aberdeen in the place to get the most out of your hunting experience.

Why Hunt in Brown County?

  • This region offers public hunting, fully-guided or self-guided hunts on private land, and preserve hunting
  • Pet friendly hotels – some with bird cleaning facilities available
  • Consistently ranks in the top half of SD counties for birds per hunter
  • Offers one of the state’s best assortments of hunting lodges
  • Residents provide a welcoming atmosphere for hunters from all around the country

View Season Information

Season Dates

Youth Pheasant Information
Resident-Only Pheasant Information
Tentative Future Season Dates

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, 2016-Jan. 3, 2017.

Daily Limit

3 rooster pheasants

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.

Shooting Hours

12 noon Central Time for the first 7 days of the season; 10 am Central Time to sunset the rest of the season. Note: Central Time is used for opening shooting hours state wide.

Future Opening Dates

The pheasant season traditionally opens on the third Saturday in October.

License Requirements


Small Game License, or Combination License, or Junior Combination License, or Youth Small Game License; or 1-Day Small Game License.


Nonresidents Small Game License, or Nonresident Youth Small Game License (each valid for two 5-day hunting periods; start dates must be identified before license issued)

Buy license online
Buy license from License Agent


  • My first time hunting in SD was last year. Wow! For an old country boy from TN who has hunted since I was just a kid, this was one of the most memorable trips of my life. I can’t wait until this coming year.

  • I live in Minnesota and have been hunting pheasants for years in South Dakota. I look forward to introducing my son to hunting and there is no better place in the world to do this than in South Dakota.

  • Love the hunt; working the dogs is great fun for both me and the dogs. Look forward to my few days in South Dakota hunting the allusive pheasants. It’s time to bond with old classmates from the past.

Where to Hunt

South Dakota has over 5 million acres of hunting opportunity on public land and private land that has been leased for public hunting. The vast majority of the state is land held in private ownership. Permission is required to hunt private land in South Dakota. Your ability to develop a connection with private landowners will enhance your hunting opportunities. We encourage you to work as individuals and through your local sportsmen’s clubs to create a personal and working relationship with private landowners. Respect their rights and their land.

Public Hunting

Walk-In Areas

General Hunting Access

South Dakota has a rich hunting heritage - one that includes lots of game and lots of places to hunt. For the past 15 years, the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks has been working hard to maintain that rich heritage by providing hunting access on privately owned lands. The department does this by contracting with landowners who have CRP or other valuable wildlife habitat. The landowner opens the land to unlimited, free public hunting, which is open to foot-traffic-only hunting, in exchange for a small payment and immunity from non-negligent liability. It has been a great program and currently has more than 900,000 acres enrolled. See the South Dakota Hunting Atlas for a list of these and other hunting areas.

Game Production Area Public Hunting

Game Production Areas are generally managed for the production and maintenance of all wildlife species. Although species emphasis varies from site to site, all wildlife benefits. South Dakota has approximately 719 Game Production Areas, totaling more than 293,000 acres. Signs are yellow and black.


Waterfowl hunting is permitted on National Wildlife Refuges located in the region but only in waterfowl production areas owned and operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These areas are marked with green and white signs.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

Open year round to public hunting and fishing access. CREP lands are owned by private individuals who have enrolled them in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and signed a lease agreement with South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks to provide public hunting and fishing access.

Hunting Area Rules & Information

Private Hunting

Sportsmen have a variety of private hunting options for both released and wild birds in the Aberdeen region. South Dakota private preserves typically have a longer season and varying limits and fees. Private hunting lodges also typically offer full-service, all-inclusive hunts for outdoor enthusiasts who want a five-star experience.

View Aberdeen Hunting Lodges