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  • Writer's pictureDakota Game Lodge

When Booking your hunt, which is the best time to hunt for you?

Here in South Dakota, everyone likes to break down the Pheasant hunting season into three categories; Early Season, Mid Season and Late Season. So which season is the best season? Here is my perception of the pro's and con's of each season.

Early Season- A wise man once told me that "There will never be as many birds for this season, as there are right now." That can stand true for any day during the pheasant hunting season, but it stands the most true for Opening day. Early season hunts can be both fun and frustrating. On the good side, the birds are young and haven't been pressure much, making them fairly stupid and easier to get a good shot. The weather is usually pretty decent and the sun stays up longer. On the negative side, the weather can sometimes be too hot, making hunting difficult for our 4 legged hunting buddies. This time of year, you can usually bet on a good chunk of standing corn crop still being in the fields. Big fields are hard to walk and the corn is usually really tall which is great cover for the pheasants, but bad for hunters.

Mid Season- Just like the other seasons, Mid-season has it's good and bad's as well. Good thing about mid season to me is the cooler temps. I am not talking 0 degrees, but 20-40's. Walking is comfortable, and the dogs can hunt all day. Crop harvests are finally wrapping up which means the birds are seeking out new areas for food and cover, making our hunting a little easier. And probably my favorite part of all the hunting season, happens during this part. The first snow!!! Now I am not talking about a foot of snow, but that first trace up to an inch or two. The birds become disoriented, their smell is magnified, and we can track their footprints! Now the negative side of mid season really comes down to 2 things. The birds are smarter and the weather can be unpredictable. The birds have been pressured by hunters for a least three weeks by now, and they are smarter and harder to get a good shot on. The weather is always unpredictable, but this time of year the weather can be 30 on day, and negative 10 the next with -20 mph wind chill.

Late Season- Most hunters don't like Late season. It is too cold, to much snow on the ground, and their aren't any birds left. While this can be true, it also means that hunting just needs a different approach. Birds need shelter, and they need food. When their is a blanket of snow on the ground and it is super cold outside, you can find the birds in the spots I just described. Thick cover, near a food source! And usually their are quite a few pheasants nestled into a spot making it probably the best chance to get your limit with out a lot of walking!

So I guess one thing your wondering is which season is my favorite season. Well, I Love all three. Any day, I can get out, and watch my dogs work, whether I get a shot of or not, is a good day! Which season is your favorite?

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