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HuntFishSD Blog

Zach pheasant hunting

Focus on habitat and where pheasants can be found

Focus on habitat and where pheasants can be found while hunting in Aberdeen. SD Game Fish and Parks Walk In Atlas, CREP, Walk In, Game and Waterfowl Production Areas, and the Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition. (Only found in Aberdeen, SD).

If you are new to hunting in South Dakota, or have yet to explore the great public lands we have available in the Aberdeen area, there is a very important tool you need to be aware of.  It’s South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ online guide to public hunting.  Essentially, this is their paper hunting atlas in electronic form.  Oh the great things you can do with this tool!  First, you get a high quality satellite image of the public lands available to hunters.  When you sit down at your computer to plan your trip, you can zoom in on specific locations to find out what type of habitat exists there.  You’ll be able to see bodies of water, cattail sloughs, shelter belts, and food plots.  There is an app for your phone so you can have it on the go, or you can just make notes on your paper atlas to act as your guide while in the field.  This can be invaluable for hunters, especially when coming from outside the area.  

The habitat birds will hold in depends on many factors.  The weather, time of year (early vs. late season), time of day, and surrounding habitat options will all impact where and how birds utilize cover.  The great thing about hunting public lands is that most are managed specifically for wildlife.  Game Productions Areas (GPA’s) and Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA) are two that exist solely to offer habitat for our wildlife.  Please remember that non-toxic shot is always required in these areas.  Even carrying lead shot is against the law.  Walk-in areas and CREP acres are leased agreements made available to hunters thanks to dollars generated from hunting license sales.  Thanks for coming to South Dakota and helping us pay for these great hunting locations!  It’s important to remember that many of these opportunities are only available because of partnerships with landowners.  So always respect the land, respect the wildlife that use it, and always…ALWAYS, leave it better than you found it.  This will ensure those places are available for us to hunt long into the future.  

All of these areas have great possibilities for holding birds, and doing your research before the trip will give you a head start when you roll into town for your hunt.  Find the spots you know have suitable habitat (based on the current conditions) and set your sights on finding birds there first.  With so much public land in the Aberdeen area, it’s easy to call an audible and find a new location if need be.  Using public lands in South Dakota is as much of a learning experience as it is a hunting adventure.  Strategize your hunt and take note how the birds respond.  It will not only help you in that particular spot, but also while hunting spots like it.  Enjoying our public hunting opportunities can be a fruitful experience for many years to come.  

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