Is South Dakota just hype?

Hutcho

Active member
I'm sure that title will get some attention 🤣

Seriously though. I'm sure we're all in hunt planning mode (or have been since last season) or at least I am. I keep going over all the hunts I wanna do in my head and I keep coming back to South Dakota. So is it the bird mecca that everyone says it is or is it all hype?

We usually have good luck in Kansas, this year maybe not, but is SD that much superior?!
 

BrdHntr

Active member
The past 6-8 years - a “guarded” yes. We primarily hunt public. SD pheasant hunting has seen a big decline in CRP ground, resulting in a huge reduction in pheasants, etc. We look for “pockets” of birds, compared to birds about everywhere back in the late nineties thru 2012 or so. So much has changed, you have to adapt.
Most of us realize marketing is marketing - thus the largely unrealistic hype
We certainly walk more miles per opportunity, compared to 10-20 years ago - it’s the reality of habitat reduction = bird population decline. The whole experience is still wonderful from our perspective- many fine folks there - and if you can gain access to some private parcels - better yet! Our rooms are booked!
 

Hutcho

Active member
Yeah unfortunately it's all worse than it used to be. I envy all the older guys that experienced the "good ol days". I'm just trying to do my dog right and put him in the best area for success. If it's almost equal or close enough anyway, then we will keep heading to Kansas as the drive is so much shorter from Missouri.
 

BrdHntr

Active member
Great point about getting your dog “action”
Since we go multiple times each year, the first trip helps narrow the spots to hunt for subsequent trips - our dogs play a huge role in sorting that out - & our pup will be a year old/first hunt - can’t wait - for us, dogs make the hunting experience complete
 

Hutcho

Active member
Great point about getting your dog “action”
Since we go multiple times each year, the first trip helps narrow the spots to hunt for subsequent trips - our dogs play a huge role in sorting that out - & our pup will be a year old/first hunt - can’t wait - for us, dogs make the hunting experience complete
That's what it's all about right? That and bringing new people. This is my son's first year and I'm freaking stoked!!

I got to take some guys out last year, one guy my age and another guys son that were first timers. Watching that guy get his first pheasant and the pure joy on his face definitely made the trip, I can't even remember if I got a bird now, but I dang sure remember his!
 

Matt D

Active member
Gotta go where you have confidence. If you’ve had good success in Kansas and have areas you know well it might make the most sense to return. SD doesn’t have a bird behind every bush or anything like that and when going someplace new there is always a learning curve. I know where I’ll be this fall but that doesn’t mean it makes sense for everyone.
 

benelli-banger

Well-known member
Plenty of hype, plenty of good hunting as well. Like many other states. Habitat is where it’s at. Most birds I’ve seen the past few seasons were not in SD. But plenty in SD…ND, MT, MN, IA, KS…
 

BrownDogsCan2

Well-known member
If your doing well in Kansas I think you will do well in SD. I have limited experience with SD but If your in a good area the birds will be there in better numbers than they are in Kansas. I was lucky and a couple of guys helped me out. If you get in a day early and scout and scout mornings you should be able to find birds to hunt. I’ll say that SD was more physically difficult than anything I have hunted in Kansas and the places that were not as physically challenging appeared to have received more hunting pressure
 

carptom1

Well-known member
If I guy is going there for the first time and hunting strictly public close to the bigger towns, he very well may think it is a bunch of hype. I have seen guys post on here about how dissatisfied they were. Mostly guys that put in very little effort on following the suggestions that are put forth here every year. I have also seen guys on here follow those suggestions and report great trips. In my mind kansas is overhyped also.
 

carptom1

Well-known member
If your doing well in Kansas I think you will do well in SD. I have limited experience with SD but If your in a good area the birds will be there in better numbers than they are in Kansas. I was lucky and a couple of guys helped me out. If you get in a day early and scout and scout mornings you should be able to find birds to hunt. I’ll say that SD was more physically difficult than anything I have hunted in Kansas and the places that were not as physically challenging appeared to have received more hunting pressure
Those cattails will kick your butt, but that’s were they are at
 
Depends on what you want. In all likely hood SD has the greatest pheasant density of any state. Also in all likely hood it has the greatest hunter density of any state. I've hunted public lands in both KS and SD with good success in both. I've maybe seen more pheasants in SD, but I've seen way more hunters. I hunted KS opening week a few years ago and was amazed at the lack of pressure compared to SD. As far as birds in the vest they were similar , was less hectic in KS but not that it would discourage me from going back to SD. For me personally it is about the dog work and relaxation. I don't need to have a full vest. I've had great walks in MT where I see maybe a handful of birds and put one in the vest and I have had great walks in SD where I have seen dozens of mostly hens and put one rooster in the vest. Apples and oranges depends on your taste.
 

Hutcho

Active member
Thank for all the advice guys. I'm still gonna head to dodge opening week, of nothing else but to hang out with the guys I only get to see once a year. That trip will probably determine how the next ones go. Usually get out there and see my dad's cousin around Larned too, not sure how bad the drought has got them. Looking like I may have to make some longer drives this year to get the dog on some birds.

As far as license goes it's always better for me to go to Kansas, I was fortunate enough to get a lifetime license before I moved across the border to Missouri.

Thank you guys for all the advice!! I'm sure I'll be asking for more if I do head up that way this year. I definitely don't mind the thick stuff, I'm a glutton for punishment lol! But I know enough to know that's where the birds are. Now getting a shot off in that crap is a different story 🤣🤣
 

Chessie 67

Active member
I enjoy hunting both states. My opinion is that typically South Dakota has more pheasants and you can have the “once in a lifetime” flush of hundreds and hundreds of birds. Kansas on the other hand, can have good pheasant numbers and in most of the areas that I hunt, have a great quail population. The mixed bag adds another dimension to the experience. I anticipate each hunt with equal enthusiasm!
 

hunter94

Well-known member
Kansas has lost a shit load of quality walk in ground, coupled with the drought this year is bad news.
SD always popular, but nothing at all like in the past, many other states in emergency haying and reduced public ground.
oh well, prepare for lots of walking.
 

benelli-banger

Well-known member
Random guys would don camo and hunker in my ditches 20 years ago and pass shoot the birds coming back in to roost…a buddy of mine made an igloo and did the same thing…it was a thing! Birds galore…it was like having 6 or 8 babes crawling all over you…hard to concentrate! Too much of a good thing? 🤪
 

Straightup82

Active member
Don’t want to take anything away from SD pheasant hunting, but you need to know they wild release tens to hundreds of thousands birds each year. I actually think with today’s science all these conservation departments should be exploring a way to seed populations to drive abundance populations. Quail included. It would drive interest and revenue in a big way.
 

benelli-banger

Well-known member
Don’t want to take anything away from SD pheasant hunting, but you need to know they wild release tens to hundreds of thousands birds each year. I actually think with today’s science all these conservation departments should be exploring a way to seed populations to drive abundance populations. Quail included. It would drive interest and revenue in a big way.
They’re pre-seasoned…I like the ones injected with the butter/garlic marinade! 🤣. True statement, I think a million or more are released by preserves, and private landowners probably release a big # as well, they don’t have to report unless they’re a preserve. These are guys that can’t afford to leave lots of acres in habitat, so they buy roosters for $15-18 apiece and put them in strips of corn or we’ll defined food plots the morning before the hunt. But where you see habitat, there’s wild birds, some places have more than others based on weather. But when a group of 12-20 guys with no dogs arrive, and shoot limits, they’re shooting mostly released birds. 85% of flushed birds are roosters…hmmmm🤣🤣🤣🤣
 
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