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Across the plains of South Dakota, hunting has grown into one of the most popular outdoor recreations. From the Badlands in western South Dakota, to Sioux Falls in the east, hunters travel into the Mount Rushmore State in large numbers. With an array of friendly and pleasant cities to visit along the way, you’ll enjoy your next hunting adventure in South Dakota.
The hunting landscape in South Dakota is best broken down into three categories: big game, waterfowl, and small game. When hunting big game animals like antelope, Bighorn Sheep, and deer, you’ll want to head to cities like Yankton and Vermillion, as there are higher numbers of deer in these areas.
Pheasant hunting is one of the most popular experiences throughout South Dakota. When the season opens on the third Saturday in October, purchase your Small Game License and head for Chamberlain – be sure to hunt the J Bar Lazy 7 Pheasant Camp, with nearly 5,000 acres.
While pheasant hunting is abundant across the entirety of South Dakota, some areas, like the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge, do not permit pheasant hunting.
You can, however, enjoy a wide range of pheasant hunting locations in Watertown. In the eastern part of South Dakota, Watertown is almost directly north of Sioux Falls and is home to both Lake Kampeska and Pelican Lake.
In Watertown, you'll discover acre upon acre of public land ideal for pheasant hunting, along with duck and goose hunting. Cities like Murdo and Pierre, while maintaining a lower number of deer and antelope, are better for waterfowl like duck, geese and the Sandhill Crane. Duck hunting season, typically, is set after August and runs through January, and limited to six a person. Head to the Oahe Downstream Recreation Area.
Additionally, Bighorn Sheep can be found in large numbers as you travel into western South Dakota. Visit cities like Rapid City, Wall, and Hot Springs for excellent accommodations during the season, which runs September through December. Look for prime hunting locations around Wind Cave National Park, perfect for you next Elk hunting trip.
In the Black Hills of South Dakota, you’ll find the Mountain Lion hunting is top-notch. With nearby cities Keystone and Hill City, you’ll be find sterling accommodations during the season – December through March. A quota of 100 Mountain Lions is set annually – don’t miss out on your opportunity.
Found in abundance across the state – from Spearfish to Aberdeen – the Cottontail Rabbit is one of the most popular small games animals to hunt in South Dakota. There is a daily limit of 10, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the state on your hunting adventure.
Whether you’re the proud owner of a big game hunting license, or if you’re looking for smaller critters to hunt, you’ll find everything you need in beautiful South Dakota – plan your trip today.