Types of Small Game Hunting

South Dakota offers some excellent small game hunting opportunities. Although pheasant is the most popular the state offers some of the other most popular hunting small game hunting in the nation with: mourning dove, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, sharp-tail grouse among others.

Pheasant Hunting

Pheasants are the most popular form of small game hunting in South Dakota. In 2007, there were over 12 million pheasants in South Dakota and hunters harvested nearly 2.12 million of them. It brought the state over $220 million that year.

The pheasant  hunting season usually runs for a few months from early October of every year to the first of January the following year. Learn more about South Dakota Pheasant Hunting, lodging and the licensing information.

Sharp-Tailed Grouse & Greater Prairie Chicken Hunting

Located primarily in the western two-thirds and central portion of South Dakota, sharp-tailed grouse overlap with prairie chickens, which are located along the Missouri River near the central portion of the state. Many hunters frequent the overlapping area to hunt for both species at once. Both grouse and prairie chickens inhabit areas of mature prairie grasslands, especially those in close proximity to rivers and farmlands. In cool or wet conditions, the birds seek shelter atop high ridge tops; in hot summer climates, they can be found seeking shady respite beneath trees and bushes. Grouse and prairie chicken hunting season varies according to which portion of the state you’re hunting in:

  • Central and eastern South Dakota: Mid-September to mid-December
  • Extreme eastern South Dakota: Mid-October to mid-December

Gray Partridge Hunting

Gray partridge (also known as Hungarian partridge) reside throughout the entire state of South Dakota, flocking most frequently to eastern agricultural areas and brush lands along grassy, mowed pastures. Gray partridge hunting season varies according to which portion of the state you’re hunting in:

  • Central and western South Dakota: Mid-September to mid-December
  • Extreme eastern South Dakota: Mid-October to mid-December

Dove Hunting

The dove population is scattered throughout the state of South Dakota, and is also fed from migratory flocks from the north. Dove hunters can find their prey most frequently perched on tree limbs above water reservoirs. They can also be found feeding on corn, oats, or wheat from harvested fields. Dove hunting season runs from September to mid-October.

Rabbit & Squirrel Hunting

Squirrels are drawn to the shade of tree belts and forested ridges, while rabbits are most often found in wetlands and tree strips in close proximity to crop-bearing farmland. Often hunted in combination with other overlapping species, rabbit and squirrel are not pursued nearly as frequently as other animal types. Rabbit and squirrel hunting season runs from September through February.

Quail Hunting

Quail can be tracked in the southeastern corner of South Dakota—specifically, the counties of Tripp, Yankton, Clay, Union, Bon Homme, Gregory, Lincoln, and Charles Mix. They are often combination-hunted with other species in the same area. Open quail season is from mid-October to December.

Ruffed Grouse Hunting

Residing in western South Dakota in the heavily wooded Black Hills region, ruffed grouse prefer to stay near forest clearings, burned areas, or alongside mountain meadows. They also have shown a proclivity for aspen trees. Ruffed grouse hunting season runs from mid-September to mid-December.

Tags: Hunting

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