Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition

In 2014, following a year of reduced pheasant numbers, and with less acreage being enrolled in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a group of forward-thinking locals from Aberdeen and the surrounding Brown County area, decided it was time to do something. It was time to start addressing the growing concern about the pheasant habitat in the area, and the overall economy that is directly tied to pheasant hunting in the region.

Spearheaded by Pheasants Forever’s farm bill biologist Emmitt Lenihan, Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director, Casey Weismantel, and the Northern South Dakota chapter of Aberdeen Pheasants Forever, the Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition (APC) was born. The APC is comprised of local retailers, hotels, farm bill biologists, business owners, and various other groups in Aberdeen who, together, were able to raise over $100,000 to use towards offering land owners an extra incentive for enrolling their land into the CRP, as well as the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks’ walk-in program.

In January of 2016, the first contract was signed, and the group of forward thinking conservationists has never looked back. Their goal is simple; putting more hunt-able acres on the ground, while creating the type of habitat that not only produces birds for the upcoming hunting season, but also ensures a thriving pheasant population for years to come. So far, their plan is not only working, as they’ve met their goal of enrolling 4,000 new acres into the program, but it’s also being recognized by everybody with ties to the pheasant community.

In January, 2017, the Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition’s efforts were applauded, as they accepted an Open Country Award from Outdoor Life at the annual SHOT Show, held in Las Vegas. The SHOT Show is an American annual tradeshow for the shooting, hunting, and firearms industry, and is the largest event of its kind in the world. Outdoor Life’s Open Country Awards recognize champions of public lands, celebrating visionaries who have demonstrated long-term commitment to advocating for public access. Accepting the award on behalf of the APC, Emmett Lenihan put it simply; “Our Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition members are businesses and organizations that understand the importance of pheasants to our Aberdeen economy. What is good for pheasants is good for Aberdeen!”

The vision created years ago, is clearly working, as the Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition is ready to expand into the second step of the initiative. The APC has reached the goals set forth in the initial ask started in 2014. The APC is turning the corner for the next chapter in the Aberdeen area. The fundraising process has started to put even more hunt-able acres in Aberdeen. This dedication to conservation has propelled the Aberdeen area, and APC is looking forward to many more years of continued success.

Important dates: Pheasant hunting season 2019

Open Season: October 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020

To learn more about hunting in Aberdeen, visit

For more information about the Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition and ongoing conservation efforts, visit