Too many questions, not enough answers | TSLN.com

Too many questions, not enough answers

Doris Powers Lauing

Photos courtesy Doris Powers Lauing

When it comes to pheasant hunting in South Dakota, resident and non-resident hunters face the same questions. Where do we hunt? Should we hunt on public ground for free or should we pay to hunt on private ground? Do we hire a guide or do we go it alone? I will attempt to give you both sides of the coin on these questions.

Where do we hunt? If you have family or friends or own land, you may not have to deal with this question. If you don’t, you will need to consider the amount of knowledge you have of the area and the amount of hunting you do. The South Dakota Game Fish & Parks manage and provide access to thousands of acres of public land that anyone can hunt on as long as they follow all rules set forth by state law. You must possess a hunting license if you are an adult and you must show you have taken a hunters safety course if you are a youth between the ages of 12 and 16.

Hunting on public or private land? Know your boundaries of the land you are hunting. All public land boarders private property and if you do not have permission to hunt on the private side do not cross the boundary. If it states this is walk in only, please park your vehicle and walk in. Know that if you are hunting on public land you may be sharing the property with other hunters that you do not know. Be courteous and respect other’s rights.

Do we hire a guide or guide ourselves? Depending on the amount of amenities you desire with your hunt, you can pay for the most elaborate guided hunt that not only provides you with quality guides, dogs and lodging that costs thousands of dollars or find a guide service that you can purchase a day hunt for a few hundred dollars. The benefits you receive from these “pay-to-hunt” operations is that they will assist you in placing you in the most desirable hunting surrounding that will maximize the number of birds you have the opportunity to shoot at. They generally provide well trained dogs that will point and retrieve your birds. You may have the attitude that you do not want to spend money on a hunt and hire a guide. But when looked at from a different aspect, you have already made the first initial investment purchasing a gun, shells, clothing, license and maybe even a dog so why not maximize on your investment.

One method I do not suggest is the traditional “road hunter.” Even though it is allowed by South Dakota State Law that one can hunt from the right-of-way when following the procedure set forth by the Game Fish & Parks, we would not consider this as a hunt. First you waste time and fuel just driving around hoping for that one ring neck to jump out of the ditch and give you the opportunity to shoot. You are missing the true experience of a South Dakota Hunt. Experiencing the beautiful fall days in the field with the crunch of dry forage beneath your feet, the cackle of mature birds and the sounds of blasting shotguns mixed with friends and family are some of the most memorable hunting experiences one can have.

Do the research before you make any decisions and follow state laws and that of your host/landowner. For information on South Dakota State Laws visit http://www.sdgfp.info or call 605-773-3485.

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When it comes to pheasant hunting in South Dakota, resident and non-resident hunters face the same questions. Where do we hunt? Should we hunt on public ground for free or should we pay to hunt on private ground? Do we hire a guide or do we go it alone? I will attempt to give you both sides of the coin on these questions.

Where do we hunt? If you have family or friends or own land, you may not have to deal with this question. If you don’t, you will need to consider the amount of knowledge you have of the area and the amount of hunting you do. The South Dakota Game Fish & Parks manage and provide access to thousands of acres of public land that anyone can hunt on as long as they follow all rules set forth by state law. You must possess a hunting license if you are an adult and you must show you have taken a hunters safety course if you are a youth between the ages of 12 and 16.

Hunting on public or private land? Know your boundaries of the land you are hunting. All public land boarders private property and if you do not have permission to hunt on the private side do not cross the boundary. If it states this is walk in only, please park your vehicle and walk in. Know that if you are hunting on public land you may be sharing the property with other hunters that you do not know. Be courteous and respect other’s rights.

Do we hire a guide or guide ourselves? Depending on the amount of amenities you desire with your hunt, you can pay for the most elaborate guided hunt that not only provides you with quality guides, dogs and lodging that costs thousands of dollars or find a guide service that you can purchase a day hunt for a few hundred dollars. The benefits you receive from these “pay-to-hunt” operations is that they will assist you in placing you in the most desirable hunting surrounding that will maximize the number of birds you have the opportunity to shoot at. They generally provide well trained dogs that will point and retrieve your birds. You may have the attitude that you do not want to spend money on a hunt and hire a guide. But when looked at from a different aspect, you have already made the first initial investment purchasing a gun, shells, clothing, license and maybe even a dog so why not maximize on your investment.

One method I do not suggest is the traditional “road hunter.” Even though it is allowed by South Dakota State Law that one can hunt from the right-of-way when following the procedure set forth by the Game Fish & Parks, we would not consider this as a hunt. First you waste time and fuel just driving around hoping for that one ring neck to jump out of the ditch and give you the opportunity to shoot. You are missing the true experience of a South Dakota Hunt. Experiencing the beautiful fall days in the field with the crunch of dry forage beneath your feet, the cackle of mature birds and the sounds of blasting shotguns mixed with friends and family are some of the most memorable hunting experiences one can have.

Do the research before you make any decisions and follow state laws and that of your host/landowner. For information on South Dakota State Laws visit http://www.sdgfp.info or call 605-773-3485.