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South Dakota’s state bird coming to Cultural Heritage Center on Oct. 19

Pheasant hunting season kicks off Saturday, Oct. 19, but you won’t need a gun to bring down pheasants at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. Visitors can create their own flying pheasant corncob dart at Family Fun Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. CDT.

All supplies are provided. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission to the museum gallery is free during program hours.

“Put together a corncob, a pheasant tail feather and a few stickers and watch your pheasant dart fly,” said Jay Smith, museum director. “It’s a great way for families to enjoy the opening day of pheasant season.”

Ring-necked pheasants are native to Asia and were first brought to the United States in the 1880s. Since then their range has spread across the United States and southern Canada, and they are a much sought-after game species. The colorful birds thrive in South Dakota’s grasslands, croplands, and shelterbelts. In 1919, the first official pheasant hunt took place in Spink County. Pheasant hunting continues to bring in millions of dollars in revenue each year. 

The male ring-necked pheasant is a beautiful bird with a shiny green head, red face, and a white neck ring. The female is less flashy with mottled brown and black plumage. In 1943, the ring-necked pheasant was named South Dakota's state bird.

The museum is open from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CDT Monday through Saturday, and 1-4:30 p.m. on Sundays and most holidays. Call 605-773-3458 or visit for more information about exhibits, special events, and upcoming activities.

About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing, and administrative/development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

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