Trip Prep

Trip Preparation and DIY Tips

Welcome to Dakota Pheasant Guide’s pheasant hunt trip preparation guide! Here, we’ve compiled essential information and tips to ensure your South Dakota pheasant hunting adventure with us is a success. 

Flying into Aberdeen (ABR)

There are several South Dakota airports to choose from. We can provide transportation assistance for our Guided Guests. The ETA’s from Airports are to our Guided Hunting Grounds. The listed Airports below are as follows: Aberdeen-20 minutes away, Watertown-1.5 hours away. Huron-1.5 hours away, Sioux Falls-3 hours away, and Pierre-3 Hours away.

Chartered Flights

For those of you bringing your own plane or chartering a flight, the following three companies can accommodate all of your needs.


We have a number of lodging options in various prime-pheasant areas for our fully-guided and self-guided guests. Take a look at our pheasant hunt lodging options or let us make a recommendation based on your group size and four-legged companions. Upon arrival, some of our lodges can be a bit tricky to locate, especially those that are fairly rural. We suggest you use our Google map and directions to ensure you’re arriving exactly where you should.

Aberdeen also boasts a wide variety of hotels that are all dog-friendly. 


What to Bring

  • Hunting clothing that is blaze orange or another suitable orange vest. If you’re in the market for an innovative hunting vest, check out what our friends at Chief Upland have designed – use promo code DAKOTA10 to save 10% and remember this is a single use code so stock up!
  • Several layers of clothing; we highly recommend base layers to avoid constricting heavy outerwear. Check the weather forecast for your hunting location and dress accordingly.
  • Shooting gloves and eye protection.
  • Twelve Gauge guns are strongly recommended as our birds are 100% Wild. Meaning they are wily, fast, and tough-particularly later in the season. The lighter gauges can and do work, provided you have experience handling them. Beginners are best to start out bigger. We do not require plugs to shoot pheasants in SD. Please have them removed prior to arrival and be ready to rack off some rounds at our roosters!
  • Hunting boots that are broken in – the field is not the place to do it. Break in your hunting boots before the trip to prevent discomfort and blisters. Avoid bringing brand new boots that haven’t been properly worn in.
  • All appropriate supplies for your dogs that will be joining the hunt.
  • Pack sufficient food and water for yourself and your canine companion.
  • For added safety and peace of mind, consider using a GPS tracking device for your dog during your hunting expedition. It’s a reliable tool to ensure you and your companions stay connected and safe throughout your hunt.
  • Camera and/or video equipment to help capture the memories! Or, let our Pro’s create a personalized documentary for you or your group! (View video packages here)

We strongly recommend that you appoint one person as your banker. This will make it easier on your entire group and darn sure helps us. We want our entire Staff’s focus to be on providing our Guests with great hunting.

Conditioning and Training for You and Your Dog

Please try and condition yourself and your dogs-if you bring them.  It will make the entire experience much more enjoyable.  If you have a physical ailment or handicap-please let us know in advance so we can easily accommodate your special needs.

You will be hunting WILD Pheasants. Let me repeat that, you will be hunting WILD Pheasants. That being said, as much as we welcome you, our Pheasants do not. Meaning, they are genetically programmed for survival and appropriate tactics are vital for consistent success. Please check out the blog for Dennis’ over 40 years of insight on how to best bag your birds. 

For our First-Time Self Guided Guests 

Our birds simply do not care who you are, who your dog is, his pedigree, how much they cost, training or ribbons around their neck. South Dakota is the ultimate field trial and I must report, that a good many fail. They must be kept within gun range at all times. A wild bird’s first instinct is to run and if your dog is running after them, the birds automatically win as they will not stop and you will not shoot. We have no more influence over how the Pheasants react than you do. We certainly cannot control your dogs, the weather, your tactics or shooting, etc. This is truly a do-it-yourself deal and if you and your dogs are not yet up to it, I would recommend a Guided Hunt your first time out. This allows you to take part in learning how we approach various situations. We wholeheartedly welcome your dogs to hunt with our seasoned dogs. You will be amazed at how much they can and do pick up in just a couple of days. 


Licensing Information

It is recommended that you obtain your hunting license before your arrival. You can do this by visiting the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Website >> Apply Online

  • Season runs from October 19th, 2024 to January 31st, 2025
  • Shooting hours: 10:00am til Sunset
  • $121 for Non-Resident Small Game License plus $25 for habitat fee
  • 3 roosters per day and 15 possession Limit
  • $10 Youth (12-17) Non-Resident Small Game License
  • Predator Hunting allowed with Small Game License

Hunt responsibly and respectfully, adhering to ethical practices and regulations to preserve the integrity of the sport and wildlife habitats. By demonstrating ethical behavior in your hunting pursuits, you contribute to the culture of respect among fellow hunters. 


Shop Local

While in the area, do yourself, your dogs, and your hunting buddies a favor and stop into Ken’s Fairway and Complete Sportsman in Aberdeen, SD. You will find that they have everything you need to make your stay easier and more enjoyable. A well-stocked Grocery Store with the bonus of locally raised and processed DemKota Beef. Whether a ribeye, sirloin, or T-bone, you will experience a tasty treat and add to the entire flavor of your South Dakota hunting experience. Include your canine companions with a good selection for them as well.

Be sure and check out the huge beer cave and liquor store as you transition into the Sporting Goods area. Complete with a nice selection of fishing and hunting supplies, including guns. And of course, shells. I would strongly encourage you to stock up on Fiocchi Golden Pheasant as that is what has proven the best in our Guided operations. 

True, one stop shopping with unrivalled hospitality. Check out the website for weekly food and hunting supply specials. They also have locations in Groton, Ipswich, Britton, Eureka, and Clark, SD to choose from as well.