How to Successfully Go Pheasant Hunting:

Pheasant hunting is very popular in North America that nearly all states have individual rules and licensing requirements. Towns of some states even provide good hunting grounds for hunting game birds. South Dakota, for example, is home to the top 25 pheasant hunting areas.

The pheasant is native to Asia, but they have been widely introduced to different countries all over the world. In the U.S., Wild-born feral pheasants are the most common species hunted and bagged, but some states have a mix of captive-reared and released birds. The ring-necked pheasant, on the other hand, is the state bird of South Dakota which is one of only three state birds in the U.S. that is not a native species.

One of the reasons that pheasant hunting is very popular in the U.S. is that it is done by groups using flushing dogs, such as Springer Spaniels and Labrador retrievers. Some hunters also add pointers in their arsenal, such as German Shorthairs and English Setters.

The Best States for Pheasant Hunting South Dakota:

Hunting for game birds is very popular in much of the United States, but more so in the Great Plains states where native grassland and farmland mix to provide an ideal habitat for pheasants. One of these states is South Dakota, which has an annual harvest of over a million birds. It also has the highest brood numbers on record dating back to the 60s, as reported by the Department of Game, Fish, and Parks in South Dakota. This is why it is often the leader of all the states listed in the top state for pheasant hunting.

North Dakota:

Year after year, North Dakota continues to provide excellent number of birds for hunters, according to landowners for a successful hunt. However, hunters are advised to stick to the areas south of I-94. It is also recommended that you sign up with companies offering quality North Dakota pheasant hunting. These include the Cannonball Company, Rolling Plains Adventures, and Central Dakota Lodge.


Iowa is second to South Dakota as the best U.S. state for pheasant hunting. In 2004, however, the state experienced a significant drop in bird population, with only 750,000 birds harvested. The good news is the numbers are starting to increase in central Iowa and other parts at 45% and 19%, respectively. The northwestern and north central parts of Iowa hold the highest population density overall.


Despite the rise and fall of the number of harvested birds, Minnesota is still one of the top states for pheasant hunting. It is just unfortunate that the upward trend starting from 2005 until 2007 continues to drop. In 2013 to 14, only an estimated 169,000 pheasants were bagged by just 62,000 hunters. The continued decline even prompted the governor to call the first ever Minnesota Pheasant Summit.


The situation in Kansas is the opposite in Minnesota because the number of birds increase year after year, making it a front-runner. This may have something to do with the fact that Kansas provides the ideal nesting ground for pheasants, especially in the early part of the year followed by a dryer season in May and June.


In Nebraska, the prime season area is the southwest region, where hunting is often a great success. What about other parts of Nebraska? The roadside counts indicate that there is a decline in the number of birds in the eastern region and increase in the western regions.

If you want to explore other hunting grounds, it is important that you take into account the season dates, open area, shooting hours and possession limit.

Helpful Tips When Pheasant Hunting:

 You must possess a hunting license that will give you the right to hunt birds. In South Dakota, license requirements vary if you are a resident or nonresident. Residents can apply for Small Game License, Combination License, and One Day Small Game License. Younger participants can also apply for Junior Combination License or Youth Small Game License.  Nonresidents, on the other hand, can apply for Nonresident Small Game License that is valid for 2 5-day hunting period. The same specifications apply with a Nonresident Youth Small Game License. It is vital that you check the license requirements in the state where you wish to go pheasant hunting.

 Use a good bird dog that will help you find more pheasants and then track them down after they are shot. Most hunters prefer Labradors because they are capable of flushing and tracking down birds. Regardless if you prefer to work with just flushing dogs or pointers, you must have a dog to succeed in pheasant hunting.

 Make time to scout and plan before hunting season opens. Unless you have been in the same area repeatedly, it is best that you familiarize the hunting ground so you will be able to cover more ground. Even if there is a daily possession limit, being able to hunt quickly will work to your advantage. You should also review
the list of areas that have the highest bird population and then create an itinerary.

 Observe common courtesy and ask landowners for permission to go pheasant hunting. Even with a license in hand, asking permission will ensure you still have a place to hunt next year.  Prepare yourself and your dog for the pheasant hunting season. Hunting for game birds is a physical activity, and you might need to run, especially when driving pheasants. For an enjoyable and hunting season, you must be able to keep up with the birds. Your dog would have to be just as fast as well.

 Learn the tricks of the trade. Hunting for pheasant is more fun when crowding is avoided, so you should respect other hunters’ space and they will do the same. You should also learn to drive birds and to hunt in different areas, especially near water. In South Dakota, hunting season this year starts on Oct. 17, 2015 and ends on Jan. 3, 2016. The entire state is an open area with a few exceptions. With this in mind and the rest of the information, pheasant hunting would be great success for you.