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Destinations Upland Bird

9 Great Things About Aberdeen Pheasant Hunting

by Eric Conn   |  December 7th, 2012 8

Tucked quietly into the Northeastern corner of South Dakota is Aberdeen, an unsuspecting city of some 26,000 that you may just miss if you’re not paying attention. What makes the small Northern Plains town famous, however, becomes obvious almost immediately upon arrival.

Whether you’ve got your radio tuned to the local country music station—Pheasant Country 103.7—or you’re driving past the Super 8 with a decorative blaze orange pickup truck and a sign welcoming hunters out front, you quickly realize the town has got one thing on the brain: pheasants.

But after a recent November trip to the pheasant mecca with Pheasants Forever, I also realized there are legitimate reasons for all that small-town quaintness and pheasant-driven frenzy. It has more to do with habitat and bird numbers than anything else, but there is certainly a town that’s hardwired for the rooster rush every fall.

With a combination of well-developed public lands and private outfitters with more birds than I’ve ever seen in my life, Aberdeen is within an hour of most of the great local hunting spots in the region. Whether you prefer the more manageable temperatures of early November or the bitter and blowing cold of December, South Dakota’s got your pheasant fix. I was there in late November after Thanksgiving and would have complained about the 20 degrees and 20 mile-an-hour winds had it not been for the hundreds of birds flushing before my eyes. Yes, it was worth it.

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