Thursday, March 04, 2010

Late Season Pheasant Hunts in South Dakota

Late Season Pheasant Hunts in South Dakota 

Late season is still an excellent time to hunt pheasants although it may not seem that way. Late season pheasant hunting begins in early December and ends at the beginning of January. There are a lot of differences between late and early season pheasant hunting, and understanding these differences is important before you decide to go pheasant hunting in the late season.

The late season is not the easiest time to hunt. The weather and temperature might not be easy to bear. Wind chill and snow can make staying outdoors for long periods of time difficult. But, the upside is that there are a lot fewer hunters out, and there are still large groups of pheasants outside.

Benefits of Late Season Pheasant Hunting 

Late season pheasant hunting can prove to be very worthwhile for hunters. Many experienced late season pheasant hunters report good yields from their efforts. Although the weather isn’t the most hospitable, there are still plenty of pheasants around. The unique challenge of battling the harsh weather and frozen terrain for pheasants is what draws hunters to hunt in the late season every year.

Late season pheasant hunting has several benefits. Pheasants travel in larger groups that are easier to spot. The groups are also less hidden as there are fewer areas that pheasants tend to congregate in toward the late season. With the crops out of the way, pheasants tend to gather in CRP food plots and grassy areas. Pheasant can more easily be seen in this type of cover rather than early season cover which is practically everywhere.

Another major benefit is the simple fact that there are going to be a lot fewer hunters out. The bitter cold keeps a lot of less courageous hunters inside, which leaves many prime hunting areas open for the hunters willing to take on the elements.

The Differences in Late Season Pheasant Hunting 

Knowing how pheasant behavior changes in the late season will help your chances of hunting success. The coldest winter months are toward the end of the season, and pheasant behavior and migration begins to change pretty dramatically.

One major difference is that pheasants will begin to gather up in much larger groups. But, smaller groups of pheasants are easier to hunt because the more pheasants there are in the group, the more of a chance that one of them will spot you and alert the flock. So, hunters have to be a little faster because of this. Also, since many pheasants have been shot at several times in the previous months, they are going to be even more easily excitable.

Since crops have been harvested by the time late season rolls around, pheasants will move outside of crop fields for food and shelter sources. Pheasants tend to take shelter near dense cover for better weather protection. So, hunters should be sure to check all areas of thick or dense tree or grass cover.

Tips for Late Season Pheasant Hunting 

It is important to consider the type of gear and clothing you should wear in the late season. With very cold weather, insulation is a must if you want to stay out for longer periods and avoid having to retreat to your lodge or truck to warm up. Several layers of insulated clothing are recommended for the best protection against weather.

Understanding that pheasants are going to be much faster in their responses, it is crucial to remain as quiet as possible when searching for flocks. Be sure to scout brush and tree areas as pheasants will tend to hide there to avoid the weather and for protection. A general rule is: the denser that the cover is, the more likely that pheasants will be in it.

Try to avoid windy days because pheasants are harder to shoot at when it’s windy just because the wind will make your fingers numb, and it might be harder to see them as well. It is very helpful to have a trained hunting dog with you to help you spot and scatter flocks and allow you to pursue individual pheasants.

The Late Season is a Great Opportunity 

Late season pheasant hunting is a great time to hunt, and there are many benefits to it, although it seems disadvantageous at first. It is definitely worthwhile for hunters to have a go at the late season to see if they get good results as opposed to early season pheasant hunting. With fewer hunters and large flocks of pheasants still around, the late season is the perfect opportunity to get a few successful hunts in as the season comes to an end.

More South Dakota Late Season Hunting Tips
Find a South Dakota Pheasant Hunting Guide


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