21 Photos of South Dakota Pheasant Hunting

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Learn More About Realtree Conservation Partner Pheasants Forever

Realtree and Pheasants Forever

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1 | Realtree and Pheasants Forever

The partnership allows Realtree to market its leading brand of camouflage patterns to Pheasants Forever's and Quail Forever’s 145,000 members whose outdoor pursuits go well beyond upland hunting, while supporting the organization’s overarching mission for wildlife habitat conservation. Read more here.

I snapped this image in camp of the PF decal slapped on an Orca cooler in Realtree MAX-5

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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View from Above

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2 | View from Above

Pheasants Forever's overriding aim is to conserve pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.

Looking down from my plane, I wondered just how many pheasants were in that December scene below. It's all about habitat.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Aberdeen Airport

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3 | Aberdeen Airport

You won't see this scene behind glass in just any ariport around the country, but you will in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

 

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Hecla Dakota Hunting Farms

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4 | Hecla Dakota Hunting Farms

Here's my room at Hecla Dakota Hunting Farms.

We all felt right at home.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Ring-Necked Pheasant

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5 | Ring-Necked Pheasant

The ring-necked pheasant is South Dakota's state bird.

Here's one taxidermy mount from the lodge.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Prairie Storm FS Steel

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6 | Prairie Storm FS Steel

We shot Federal Premium's Prairie Storm FS Steel on the hunt with good results.

Read how Prairie Storm loads support habitat.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Realtree and Hunter Orange

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7 | Realtree and Hunter Orange

A number of hunters – like Pheasants Forever's Chris Kalis, pictured here – wore a combination of Browning Realtree apparel and hunter orange.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

 

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Savage Fox A Grade

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8 | Savage Fox A Grade

My heirloom Fox Sterlingworth was my paternal grandfather's grouse gun, and then my dad's, and now mine.

My wife's Fox A Grade shotgun belonged to her great-grandfather, also a Pennsylvania grouse hunter.

I thought it was pretty cool to be able to use this loaner Savage Fox A Grade on our South Dakota pheasant hunt.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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A Man and His Dog

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9 | A Man and His Dog

Good buddy Pheasants Forever's Bob St. Pierre – and his German Shorthaired Pointer Esky – enjoying a break in the action at the end of a successful hunt on day one.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

 

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Watering the Dogs

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10 | Watering the Dogs

The South Dakota pheasant hunt included a number of gun dog breeds.

Here we stop for a water break.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Boot Drying

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11 | Boot Drying

Drying our Irish Setter boots, among others, back at the lodge following day one's hunt.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Rooster Feathers

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12 | Rooster Feathers

Many pheasant hunters take time to pause and admire a rooster's feathers.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Lodge Scene

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13 | Lodge Scene

Pre-hunt scenes at the lodge were full of joking, good fun and planning the day's hunt.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Filling Pockets

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14 | Filling Pockets

We got plenty of shooting on the two-day pheasant hunt, filling vest and jacket pockets back at the truck.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Dog Handlers

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15 | Dog Handlers

The dog handlers at Hecla Dakota Hunting Farms are among the best I've ever had the pleasure of hunting with . . . organized and thoughtful bird-dog folks who do their job well.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

 

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Golden Retriever

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16 | Golden Retriever

Lance Kraemer of SoundGear had his young Golden Retriever along on the hunt.

Bentley nailed down a number of solid points for our group of hunters, with fine follow-up retrieves.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Day Two Rooster

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17 | Day Two Rooster

Here's Esky and Bob St. Pierre on day two. After a solid point, the rooster slinked away as this wily game bird is prone to do. Esky adjusted, locking the bird down again. The rooster flushed straight up, banked on the escape. Bob took it with one solid shot and a puff of feathers.

Good stuff.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Deke, German Wirehair

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18 | Deke, German Wirehair

Deke, a German wirehair, gave me a newfound appreciation for this gun dog breed during the South Dakota pheasant hunt. Smart, level-headed, biddable and steady, Deke is one of several other dogs on this hunt I developed an immediate fondness for in the field.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Last Afternoon

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19 | Last Afternoon

We closed out the final afternoon under a slate-gray and orange-streaked sky with a chill in the air.

Paradise, I tell ya. Paradise.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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English Cocker

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20 | English Cocker

And George Lyall's English Cocker pup Minnie was another camp highlight. She charmed everybody.

You'll remember George from a recent episode of The Flush on Oklahoma quail hunting. His English pointers nailed a number of pheasants with stylish points on our recent hunt.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

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Group Shot

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21 | Group Shot

It doesn't get any better than hunting pheasants with a bunch of good friends.

(© Steve Hickoff photo)

Go here for Realtree small game hunting. Follow us on Facebook.

Join or renew your Pheasants Forever membership here.

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A South Dakota December with slate-gray skies and hints of sun. A handful of bird dog breeds working cover ahead of their handlers. Plenty of land to hunt. Good friends, food and fun.

A drive to another state, a bus to the airport, two flights and another drive, this time as a passenger, I found myself in pheasant hunting paradise. Friends from Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever were in camp, along with other outdoor industry buds.

Realtree, of course, is a Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever national sponsor and partner in conservation. 

Please click through this South Dakota pheasant hunting gallery to see how our hunt went.