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Thread: South Dakota public land

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Talking South Dakota public land

    I am a long time pheasant hunter from Colorado looking to find a good spot in southern SD for public pheasant hunt. I have dreamed of hunting SD for years, and now is finaly the time . any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2006
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    UGUIDE South Dakota Pheasant Hunting
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    Kevina,

    2 tools you will need are an SD Hunting Atlas and/or game and fishes interactive mapping tool on their website. I would definitely suggest getting a hard copy of the Atlas.

    Southern SD is good for pheasants but there is less public ground and less CRP. If it were me I would focus around the Aberdeen area and use the atlas to help you focus on areas with high CRP and high public ground.

    http://www.sdgfp.info/Wildlife/PublicLands/PubLand.htm

    http://www.sdgfp.info/Publications/Atlas/Index.htm

  3. #3
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    Oct 2008
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    SD
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    UGuide has it correct, worth the three more hours you'll drive.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2006
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    Sioux Falls, SD
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    I hunt a lot of public land around Sioux Falls. It does get hit pretty hard, yet I've still been very successful. It's based on some scouting, but the main trick is watching what interest my dog has. If she is not interested, I'm quickly out of there and on to the next. Not sure were you'll end up, but I'd recommend the same. If the dog's not interested, move on. No use wasting a lot of time finding that lone rooster.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2006
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    Minnesota
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    I don't hit the public land much in South Dakota anymore. If I did if it were me, I'd focus my efforts on less populated areas and bring a good dog. Don't forget to use some common sense as Dewey/Uguide mention above.

    Ryan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    ky
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevina View Post
    I am a long time pheasant hunter from Colorado looking to find a good spot in southern SD for public pheasant hunt. I have dreamed of hunting SD for years, and now is finaly the time . any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    I too took a risk this year....my quail hunting dried up and this year gave pheasant hunting a shot in SD....didnt know anyone....had no private hunting lined up....but took a chance...it was definitely worth it. Some of the Public Hunting wasnt great. But...what I found was the old ditchways that were still right of ways but the roads were not maintained. Which means they were used only for the farmer's tractors and other equipment. There was some excellent hunting on those abandoned right of ways. Get your map....and travel the side roads and look for the signs that say minimal maintenance right of way. They are usually a mile long. Usually corn on either side of the right of way. There wasnt any signs of previous hunters on several places. We got our limit 2 of 3 days in warm windy weather. I hunted SC SD...Good Luck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    ky
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    136

    Default same here

    I did the same thing last year....didnt know a soul in SD....hunted what is called the minimal maintenance right of ways...two guys got their limit in three days. Not bad for someone who didnt know anyone. Main thing is get the maps...spend the morning driving and scouting...I too am a long time quail hunter who took a chance and found it to be great. Going back...same time...same places...looking forward to it again this year. Good Luck.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2008
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    Watertown, SD
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    Coming out later in the season would also be beneficial as there will be less pressure. I'd try mid November if I was you. And hunting during the week and not weekends will also help. I live right here in Pheasant Country and I hunt a lot of public land. Just getting more and more difficult to get on private land. You can do well on public land you just may have to log a few extra miles. And a good dog or dogs will really help.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Minnesota
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    Lots of good advice here. To me a good plan for freelancing would include:

    Hunt NE Or NC South Dakota and stick to areas with a high concentration of public access.

    Hunt mid-season and hunt during the week. If you can time it for when the corn harvest is almost complete or complete all the better. (That may be tough this year)

    Ditch hunting is a good way to harvest pheasants but not the hunting experience or hunting memories I would want to take home. IMO hunt the traditional parcels, stick to the fundamentals, let the dogs stretch there legs in real cover, hunt hard, hunt long and enjoy the moment. You will shoot plenty of birds and if a limit isn't taken every day so be it.

    Definately play the percentages at roosting hour. Hunt good roosting grass next to a food source (even or maybe especially if it is standing corn) and you will find roosters.

    During other parts of the day be willing to check out the less than prime cover. These are smart birds and they respond to pressure. If every hunter who comes through a parcel heads straight for the cattail patch or the good switch grass change it up and hunt the scraggly patch of kochia or the weedy waterway that everybody else is ignoring.

    If you stay in a larger town like Aberdeen etc. be willing to drive at least an hour every morning before starting to hunt. Those parcels close to town get hit hard even on weekdays.

    Good luck
    Chasing Roosters with a flushing dog on public land. As God intended.......

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Midland, Michigan
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    75

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    Kevina,
    Some great advice from the others. This will be my 4th trip to SD this fall and except for one day that I paid to hunt some private land, it's all been done on public land.

    Yes, you will see other hunters but there is enough land available for you to have a great hunt. My hunting party usually consists of 2-3 guys. Smaller, out of the way areas work well for us. We probably hunt waterfowl areas (near food) as much as roosting cover and food plots. Now we don't see hundreds of birds every day, but for the most part, if we don't limit out it's not because we didn't have a chance to...just lousy shooting on our part.

    Like the others said, get the SD atlas and check out the public land available in the area that you are staying. With a little scouting, you should have great time in SD. I'm taking my 1 year old lab out there this year so I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas.

    Have a great hunt and let us know how you do.

    Scott

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