Hunting ditches

hunter94

Active member
Not that it really affects me, because road/ditch hunting law is the same either way. But is there a way to distinguish county roads from township roads?
most main county roads are too dangerous to ditch hunt, especially with a dog. i would take a pass on these main, gravel/blacktop roads....easy to spot them, most all of the crossroads have stop signs.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
I know when a sign says state/county/whatever, that's who owns it. And right, I'm not very interested in hunting along busy roads. Too busy & too noisy. But is your average, run-of-the-mill SD gravel road (the kind that criss-cross the state every mile) owned by the county or a township? In general.
 

SPUR60

New member
I know when a sign says state/county/whatever, that's who owns it. And right, I'm not very interested in hunting along busy roads. Too busy & too noisy. But is your average, run-of-the-mill SD gravel road (the kind that criss-cross the state every mile) owned by the county or a township? In general.
Majority of your grid roads are township roads. Google earth/maps is about 85-90% accurate on indicating county roads for eastern SD. Plat books often indicate county roads as well.
 

hunter94

Active member
Majority of your grid roads are township roads. Google earth/maps is about 85-90% accurate on indicating county roads for eastern SD. Plat books often indicate county roads as well.
see new regulation regarding road hunting with your dog.......now states you must have control of your dog and not let him hunt beyond the ditch on private property......can't shoot anything he flushes beyond the fence........this is going to be a challenge, sets up for disputes, especially keeping dog in the ditch while hunting....probably the beginning of the end for ditch hunting in SD.
 

jonnyB

Active member
Can't imagine SD would ever prohibit ditch hunting...

In December and early January, most of the fields are plowed and little cover is left, except in the ditches.

I assume the state is responding to land-owners and their complaints about hunters moving on their land vs staying in the ditch. Controlling a hard-charging dog to stay in a narrow ditch will be challenging!
 

labsrule

Member
Any dog with an E Collar on in the ditch would be considered under control IMO. I guess we don’t really ever run onto anyone where we hunt ditches to create an issue. But i’M guessing it is for some
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Any dog with an E Collar on in the ditch would be considered under control IMO.
I wouldn't bet on it, but yes, in theory, if the dog is actually in the ditch, it shouldn't matter what he's wearing around his neck. It'll come down to how big a stink a landowner wants to make. I don't believe you'd be obligated to show a license to anyone other than a law official if you're hunting ditches. (maybe) But if the warden shows up & the landowner makes a good case, then I think the warden is probably obligated to charge you with something. My guess is paw prints on the wrong side of the fence (or obviously video taken w/ a phone) would be all they'd need to charge you with trespassing.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
Can't imagine SD would ever prohibit ditch hunting...

In December and early January, most of the fields are plowed and little cover is left, except in the ditches.

I assume the state is responding to land-owners and their complaints about hunters moving on their land vs staying in the ditch. Controlling a hard-charging dog to stay in a narrow ditch will be challenging!
Certainly it's a response to landowners complaining (rightfully so) about sportsmen (term used loosely) trespassing, but these same "sportsmen" give landowners all sorts of reasons to be grumpy people in general, but particularly when it comes to hunting ditches.

I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if SD banned hunting ditches, especially as pay-to-hunt becomes more & more the norm for so many hunters, especially nonresidents. All the more reason for hunters to know what the laws are, obey them, pay attention to things going on in Pierre, & speak up when we have something to say.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Member
This will be my 38th year of hunting SD ditches many times each year. I've NEVER been questioned at the time by a landowner, another hunter, game warden, or anyone else about the legality of what I or my dog was doing. I think that, in general, if you look like you're supposed to be there, your dog is reasonably under control, and you OBSERVE THE 660' SAFETY ZONE (especially w/ homes & livestock), landowners couldn't care less. My $0.02. Now watch. This year somebody'll have a problem with me hunting a ditch.
 

Flushedup

Member
I agree. I think the people who are being idiots and jumping out of the truck just because 2 roosters run across the road while they are driving, and are stomping a ditch near a farmyard are the ones this is being targeted towards.

If you are a mile away on a section road, you will never have a problem with a landowner. They have better things to do than make sure your dog is where he is supposed to be.
 

PeteRevvv

Member
I hunt ditches everyday of my trips from 1-4 after walking the first hour and then drive until close- mile line gravel roads and half-mile field access roads included- and have for 30 years. In the last 10 years I have had 3 times I've seen landowners with binocs watching the action from the end of the road. Twice they've still been there when we pull up. Got out said hi, shared a sandwich, cold pop or homemade brownie and they were good people who just didn't want us heading out into their honeyholes near the road. One time I had a problem was a gravel road with a stop sign that petered out into dirt and then field. We stopped for lunch at that point before backtracking and let the dogs out to stretch. Ends up we were at the entrance to a planted hunt private hunt field that had got hit the day before with trespassers. Some younger guys came in fast and angry at that point.

It's hard to get in trouble with law or landowners if you are in the ditch and no one is parsing the words like they're in a forum thread. After the first couple dirty ditches the dogs we have are too tired to do anything but walk the road or open fence line without being told to get back in the cover so runaway dogs into the field are rare and if they do, just don't shoot anything that does get up. Anything that gets up beyond 10 yards of the fence line is hard to get a bead on or bring down anyway but occasionally you do get lucky. Nobody is going to get worked up about that, not landowners or law, in my experience.

Beyond legal though, there is bad form- stay out of the way of harvesting vehicles where you are parked. That's what will get landowners mad if you slow down harvest operations. Don't walk ditches right next to other hunting parties that are walking the land as they may be planning to clean up birds that made it to the ditch. Mark the spot and come back an hour later. Stay far away from cattle and buildings, regardless of whether there is a home nearby that looks occupied.
 

benellibygolly

New member
I love sd pheasant hunting. We only hunt ditches. Walking with dogs or following them in truck. Most of my party are disabled vets and cannot hold up to walk anymore, but we do what we can. We do not violate and hope this practice is never outlawed. Montefeltro, prairie storm, german shorthair...hard to beat.
 
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