South Dakota Bird Hunting – Grouse

Rock Creek Ranch provides a unique opportunity to experience South Dakota bird hunting with experienced guides on 9000 acres of grasslands. If you aren’t experienced at hunting prairie grouse, there’s something you need to know. Sharptails and prairie chickens aren’t like any other game birds. These game birds have lived on the prairie for centuries and have adapted to the many dangers that stalk them. As a result, hunters will need to fit their tactics to the birds’ habits. These spooky birds rely on their sight for safety, so they are more likely to be seen in areas where they can see their surroundings. Wind is always prevalent on the prairie forcing these birds to see shelter on the downwind side of a ridge usually with a good view of the area. This is counter-intuitive to the neophyte grouse hunters who are often seen looking in heavy vegetation at the bottom of a draw or trudging through a shoulder-high field of sweet clover, in military-like drives.

South Dakota Bird Hunting – Tip #1

If you want to bag the bird, you have to think like the bird. Grouse spend a large amount of time walking in search of large quantities of insects, berries and vegetation in addition to flying long distances to feed on row crop fields. Like the prairie they call home, these birds are unique, frustrating and special. That is what makes South Dakota bird hunting such a challenge.

A Bit About South Dakota Bird Hunting – Especially for Grouse and Prairie Chickens

(from SD GFP Info)

The grasslands of central and western South Dakota are home to two species of prairie grouse, the sharptail and prairie chicken. Under the state’s regulations, the two birds can be hunted as prairie grouse, without having to differentiate the species.

Hunters who hope to bag a prairie chicken as part of their limit would do best to concentrate their efforts on the south-central part of the state. Prairie chickens can be found mixed with sharptail east of the Missouri River in most of the area open to hunting, and west of the Missouri from Haakon and Stanley counties south to the Nebraska border.

Scattered coveys of grouse can be found on public lands east of the Missouri, but the best hunting is usually farther west. In extreme western South Dakota, sharptails are present, but are not usually as abundant as in the west-central counties. Hunters with pointing dogs will find that grouse will hold well for their dogs in the early part of the season, especially on hot days with light winds.

Permits for South Dakota bird hunting

In order to experience, South Dakota bird hunting, non-resident adults need to obtain a non-resident small game license. These are available at the ranch for $100. This entitles the hunter to two 5-day periods that are designated on the non-resident small game application (available in June).

If you are a non-resident youth under age 16 years, you will need a copy of your hunter safety card or a copy of a current or previous hunting license issued to you from any state. The non-resident youth small game license is $25 for youth ages 12 – 15. In order to obtain the license, you must be accompanied by a parents or guardian. Contact us today to learn more about South Dakota bird hunting trips.