HORSEBACK HUNTING CHECKLIST
YOUR HUNTING LICENSE
Most likely it will be a non-resident license. That is awesome. Just don't be talked into buying a "Preserve License". Where we hunt, there are no preserves. All of the birds are wild, and trust me, there's a good chance someone will double-check your license for you on our way home. Better to be properly prepared. You can buy your license online, just like you would take care of your lodging. What you are looking for is the Nonresident Small Game license. It is for 10-days, (2) 5-day periods. Purchase it online and print it out, or you can use your phone to display a copy of it in lieu of a paper copy. Here is the link: https://gfp.sd.gov/hunt-fish-license/
GUNS AND AMMUNITION
It's your call on the shotgun. Shoot what you love to shoot. The dogs and horses don't care; as long as you don't shoot them. That would probably upset them a little. I trust you. They do, too. As far as ammo, same decision. I've seen five and six shot, I've seen two shot for late-season pheasants. You can kill a grouse at 60 yards if you use the right choke, but I'd wager it wouldn't be with eight shot. Lead/No Lead? Your choice. We hunt all private land, so it is perfectly legal to use lead. That's all I'm going to say about that. Now, if I was sponsored, I would tell you what kind of gun you should shoot and what kind of ammunition you should buy. But I'm not. Use a modified or improved cylinder choke. Unless you are a rock star. Then use a full choke.
CLOTHING AND OTHER GEAR
I'm not going to tell you how to dress. Mostly because, again, I'm not sponsored. I'll give you a short rundown of some of the generics that you might consider since South Dakota can be so fickle in the Fall. Bring some orange if you don't trust your hunting partner. Bring a hunting vest. The birds will fit in the saddlebags, but sometimes the extra pockets are nice. Warm and cold hats. We've hunted in full-face masks in the morning and t-shirts the same afternoon. I did say fickle South Dakota, right? Good waterproof boots, and it's best to have them broken in before you arrive. Narrow-toe boots for horseback hunting is a plus, but your stirrups will accommodate a hiking boot. Chaps or face pants are a bonus when you hit the thick stuff. I know we said rolling prairie, but there is thick stuff on the prairie, too. Raincoat. Snow coat. No coat. Take your pick. We never know. The same goes for shooting gloves, warm gloves, and long underwear. Biking shorts with padded seat- I've never used them, but I hear they are the bees' knees. That being said, this list isn't complete, it's just some things. You probably know how to dress yourself anyway, so we're good.