REAL South Dakota 2021 review.


New member
Good or bad bird numbers we always make our annual trips to South Dakota. The trip is all about the bird experience, sunsets and most importantly the dog work. I spend all summer at home in Wisconsin training pups for not only grouse at home but for the experience of chasing SD roosters. Boots on the ground and miles walked equal opportunity. Pheasant numbers aren't like they were 10 years ago due to many factors but it still an experience you will never forget. I myself have been coming out for 25+ years and still can't get enough of South Dakota. When I was young it was all about the number of birds in the bag. Now its all about exposure for my dogs that's what puts a smile on my face even if I have to walk mile after mile to get them that opportunity. We are heading out tomorrow 5 am for a week of boots on the ground. Good or bad we will give it everything we got just for the opportunity to hear the cackle and see a rooster. Good luck to everyone and be safe.
Good Luck! Did you go to Ashland HighSchool?


Active member
The Todd and Chad stuff aside, OP is correct.

If you come to the Dakota's to let dogs run big on open public grassland, you're going to have a bad time.

If you hunt a small geographical area of public ground, you're going to have a bad time.

If you are willing to drive long distances to find huntable cover, you could be ok. Think of it like scouting for ducks.

If you hunt cattails, you'll find birds.

If you pay to play, well idk, I've never done that.

The feeling of a bird bagged will be tempered by the devastating loss of habitat, at least it was for me.


Just got back from Pierre and I'd agree numbers aren't as good as last year but it was still amazing. Saw more birds in one field then I do in a day in Colorado. My dog and I are average at best and we had our first rooster within 30 minutes of buying my license in a WIA i had never been to before. Love South Dakota


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Active member
I’ll agree with Munster that nowadays we have more tools in order to “arrive with a plan” but at the end of the day, it’s the boot leather to the soil and all the decisions you make while you’re here that puts birds in the bag. I really relish the thought and act of walking with a shotgun in hand while teaming up with a seasoned bird dog, knowing at any given moment a wild rooster will come into play!
Good luck to all this season!!


Well-known member
You folks must have some hellish good dogs. Or maybe it’s the people.
Its mostly the people for me. I could do without associating with most of the rest of the human race, other than on a computer of course. An invisible enemy in the form of an airborne virus only makes that stance stronger too.


Well-known member
I talked to a guy on the MN opener who said his group of 18 shot 24 birds. I asked "private or public". He paused and said "mix of both". When I see a large number of guys shooting alot of birds, it's 99% of the time private.


New member
Stop right here if you went to a paid gun lodge.

Birds are down, way down. Don’t waste your time on public land, yes there are birds, a few.

All your normal ditches are cut, short enough to putt a golf ball on, they were hayed for the drought, as they should have been as SD is an agriculture state.

To the Todds that come on this forum and say how wonderful the hunt was with “birds a plenty” let me tell you, that Todd paid $500+ per day to kill pen raised pheasants, he literally bought the “upland” gear online based on a recommendation from his buddy “Kyle”. He probably drives a Yukon, wears a Rolex and talks about how many white claws he drinks on the weekend.

The biggest joke which “Todd” doesn’t tell you in he stands in a line of guys, no more than 7’ apart and each bird gets hit by 3-4 shots. Oh another thinghe didn’t tell you was he was shooting chuckars and counting them as roosters, then posting his perfectly staged photo on his Instagram account.

Pheasant Hunting in South Dakota is absolutely amazing, sportsman support a ton of tiny communities and keep places running from year to year. I’d NEVER discourage you to come to SD, just to have realistic expectations.

peace! See you in Mitchell at Cabelas.
Don’t forget Tucker, Tucker sucks!


Well-known member
You folks must have some hellish good dogs. Or maybe it’s the people.
I used to have two well trained black labs 20 years ago. Through work I made aquantaince with some high rollers that hunted some nice properties and I got many invites because they had no dogs and didn't want to be bothered with them. Eventually we parted ways as they liked to party a little to hard for me, and I didn't care for hunting with half drunk guys in the morning. It was funny to watch guys that had never hunted behind good dogs hunt.