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Pheasant Hunting on the Horizon in South Dakota

The resident pheasant hunting season opens in South Dakota on October 13.
Photo by Getty Images

The resident season for hunting pheasants in South Dakota begins Saturday, with limitations. It’s for South Dakota residents only, and it’s limited to public lands.

The real excitement begins on the 20th, when hunters flock, so to speak, to South Dakota to put on their blaze orange gear and walk the fields in search of the wily ringneck.

I grew up on land that was pretty good pheasant ground in its time, in northern McCook County, although I didn’t grow up to be a hunter. But for a few years there, the hunters came to us.

In the mid-to-late 1950s, there was a family of guys from around the Tulsa, Oklahoma area – gas station owners, all of them – who would come up for pheasant season and stay on our farm.

We had a big square farmhouse and plenty of room, so my mother would feed them and I assume they would pay to stay there, although I was not privy to the financial aspect of it.

Before that, in the mid-1950s, two young radio guys from Sioux Falls would come out every year to hunt. They worked at KIHO, which hasn’t been around for 50 years, and when we would get home from church they’d be in their car in our yard. My mother would feed them and then they would hunt our land.

Quite a few years later I worked with one of them at KSOO, and he was surprised I remembered.

Are you kidding? Two guys from the radio would come out and hunt on our land!

I think it was a bigger deal in those days, especially to a five-year-old, than it would be today.

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