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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.

  • jay martin

    I look forward to the hunting season in Aberdeen every year.I work with Dakota River Ranch about 15 minutes from town. We had very successful hunts and great weather this year. Lots of birds and great habitat this year. The wire hairs from Hard Point Kennel made the hunt very exciting with 3 to 6 dogs in the field the birds were going to be found. Aberdeen is a great place to relax and make new hunting memories.

  • tobyhoffman

    Great pic and article. Are they native? More pics of truck?

  • Tom ward

    Looking for a late season hunt. Any recommendations? Have my own dogs

    • Scott

      We hunted south of aberdeen and it wasnt that good. We hunted 2nd season and it was ok but not like they said it would be. I hear south of redfield was better

  • 2dabuck

    I've been hunting the area around Aberdeen for over 30 years. Access is becoming harder and harder to obtain. And now with the spike in corn prices good pheasant habitat is being bulldozed and burned to create more corn ground. I have talked to 4th generation farmers in the area that are dismayed by these practices. Some of the shelterbelts that are being leveled were planted in the late 30's after years of drought and dust storms. Water levels have dropped precipitously in the past year and a half.

  • Gentleman John

    I used to hunt in that region until 10 years or so ago when I realized that if you don't have the $100-$200 per day to hunt in a lodge you can't find a place to hunt. It used to be you could knock on doors and someone would let you hunt. Not anymore.

  • Cattail Carl

    As one local old timer from the Aberdeen area told me, "You better enjoy it while you can, because we've seen the last of great pheasant hunting.

  • Josh Tucker

    Had some great hunts in Kansas. Definitely recommended

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