Category Archives: Hunt Mitchell

Traditions Remain Strong for South Dakota’s Pheasant Hunting Opener

PIERRE, S.D. – Communities across South Dakota rolled out the orange carpet for pheasant hunters today, the third Saturday in October, for the 2017 pheasant hunting season opener.
“The pheasant hunting opportunities in South Dakota continue to be the best in the country,” said South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler. “Traditions around the South Dakota pheasant opener are special. Whether it’s a first-time hunter harvesting their first rooster, or an avid outdoorsman meeting up with long-time friends and sharing a hunt, this is what we live for and why visitors flock to our state.”
Reports from the fields across the state indicate the following:
Central Region, Ross Scott, GFP Regional Game Manager
  • Average bird count: 1 bird per hunter.
  • Most hunted area in region: Lyman, Gregory and Brule counties.
  • Northeast Region, Nick Rossman, GFP Regional Game Manager
    • Average bird count: 0.5 bird per hunter.
    • Most hunted area in region: Day, McPherson and Edmunds counties.
  • Southeast Region, Brad Baumgartner, GFP Regional Game Manager
    • Average bird count: 1 bird per hunter.
    • Most hunted area in region: Aurora, Jerauld and Davison counties.
  • Western Region, Trenton Haffley, GFP Regional Game Manager
    • Average bird count: Less than 1 bird per hunter.
    • Most hunted area in region: Perkins, Bennett, Haakon and Harding counties.
Over 8,000 new acres have been enrolled in the Walk-In Area hunting access program within the pheasant range, noted Secretary Hepler; adding to over 1 million acres of existing publicly owned and privately leased land open for public hunting in South Dakota’s the primary pheasant range.
South Dakota’s traditional statewide pheasant hunting season began today and runs through Jan. 7, 2018. If individuals have yet to purchase their hunting license, they can do so online or at any local licensing agent. For more information, visit or
Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to take part in the tradition – not just in the field but online – by sharing their photos and videos with GFP by using #SDintheField.

Pheasant Recipes

You’ve reached your bird limit…now what?
We’ve compiled a list of delectable pheasant recipes for you to try out!













Check out More recipes on Pheasants Forever’s website

GFP Reminds Boaters to Practice Safe Boating

PIERRE, S.D. – As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is joining a national effort to highlight boating safety.

Operation Dry Water will take place June 30 – July 2, 2017, promoting boating safety and responsible use of alcohol while boating across the country.

“We want to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers, kayakers and others have a safe place to enjoy South Dakota’s waters,” said Joe Keeton, boating law administrator. “Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water just as it does when driving a car, even more so because with the added stressors of sun, heat, wind and noise on a boat. Choosing to consume alcohol while boating puts everyone at risk, including passengers and people in the water. Our goal is to remove anyone choosing to operate a vessel impaired and to keep everyone on the water safe.”

Alcohol consumption and boating continues to be an issue and is listed as the leading known contributing factor in all fatal boating accidents nationwide. As part of the national event, GFP will conduct extra boating safety patrols statewide to promote safe and responsible boating practices heading into the holiday weekend.

Tips to staying safe on the water this summer:

  • Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths*. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
  • Wear your life jacket. 83% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket*.
  • Take a boating safety education course. 77% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction, where instruction was known*.
  • Use your engine cut-off device. Many boating accidents involve operators or passengers who have fallen overboard. Wearing an engine cut-off switch lanyard or wireless engine cut-off device will shut the engine down if the operator is ejected or falls overboard.
  • File a float plan. Leave a float plan with at least one person on land so they know where to find you if needed. You should be able to rely on this person to notify local law enforcement if you do not return within a reasonable hour of expectancy.
  • Check the weather. Not only can poor weather spoil a trip, but it can also cause an emergency situation out on the water.

Keeton noted that state regulations require all children under age seven to wear an approved personal flotation device anytime a boat is moving at greater than no-wake speed. He recommends taking the next step and keeping a personal flotation device on all occupants in the boat at all times.

“Before heading onto the water, check your equipment,” Keeton said. “Fire extinguishers, life jackets, throw-able flotation devices are required and must be in good working condition. The best way to prevent an unwanted tragedy on the water is to be prepared.”

Visit or for more information about boating under the influence.

Boaters can view the 2017 South Dakota Boating Handbook online at or pick up a copy at any GFP office.



Hunting More Than Pheasants

There has been a lot of talk recently about the decline in pheasant population in the Mitchell area, and it’s impact on hunters visiting our great city. The Daily Republic ran an excellent report on the various stakeholders involved, and it’s clear that there is no easy solution. Farmers and landowners have no obligation to forgo profit to provide bird habitat, nor should they be forced to. Pheasant hunting, it seems, may decline in eastern South Dakota – and with it, the economic boost it provides to our communities.

But like many products, hunting is not dependent on only one factor. Our birds may be playing hard-to-get (or hard-to-find), but I’m not convinced that hunters come to Mitchell exclusively for the ring necks. They’re simply a catalyst, a symbol of so much more.

Mitchell is a city that loves to play host. We open our arms wide for visitors – whether they come to see our excellent attractions, watch our phenomenal athletic teams, participate in our events and festivals, or hunt pheasants. Like Lumiere sang in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, “Why, we only live to serve!” Mitchell is at it’s best when we’re helping others enjoy our city. And hunters know it.

Chamberlain has the most birds in the state; this is not a trend I see changing anytime soon. For hunters who are after birds and birds alone, Chamberlain is the place to go – and I have no problem admitting this.

But if you want more? Well, as the saying goes, it’s Mitchell more than ever. Our hunters know it’s not just about limiting out (though that’s nice too). It’s about the tradition; the hospitality; the rustic pampering; the getaway; the evening after the hunt; the memories; the stories you’ll tell. And for that, we await you.

Mitchell is home to the most hunting guides, the most hunting dogs, and the most hunting lodges in all of eastern South Dakota. We offer a range of lodging options, from campgrounds to plush hotels. Our dining options run the gamut from customized filed lunches to fine restaurants, and our nightlight provides variety your entire hunting party can agree on. And, of course, we have exceptional hunting outfitters!

Let us be your escape; your home from the field. Let us help you create your favorite traditions, and craft the stories you’ll tell in the years to come. In Mitchell, pheasant hunting is a legacy you can live. Because you may hunt for birds. But hunting is the ‘more’ that only Mitchell can offer.

Give ‘Snowbird’ a whole new meaning!

With weeks left to go in the pheasant hunting season, now is a great time to plan or create your favorite outdoor tradition. Brood numbers are up this year, but due to the summer drought, those birds are playing hard-to-get. Deterred? Don’t be!

There are many reasons a late-season hunt is a great getaway. Safety is always top priority, and hunting later in the season avoids a crowded landscape. When the snow falls (this weekend?!), visibility increases. Rover will thank you, too – cooler weather is less stressful on your four-legged best friend. And if you’re looking for a low-cost vacation with your buddies or your family, late-season hunting is the answer as lodging rates are lower towards the end of the season.

So go ahead – give ‘snowbird’ a whole new meaning! The fields are open, and your memories are waiting.