South Dakota is blessed with an array of game animals to hunt and its hunting season consists of games such as mountain lions, turkeys, elks, deer, antelope, as well as other small game animals. The state also helps hunters with programs such as the Volunteer Hunter Program that allow hunters to take games on private properties to eradicate a large number of game on the land.
South Carolina Hunting Regulations
Like in most parts of the USA, hunting in South Dakota is regulated according to rules, regulations, and requirements of the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks agency
Some of the most important hunting regulations in the state include the following:
Restrictions for Convicted Felon Hunters
It is a prohibition for convicted hunters to have any firearms in their possession while hunting. This includes the possession of muzzleloaders. An exception is made for convicted felons that already have their rights to possess firearms restored in the state or at the federal level. Also, this restriction only concerns the possession of firearms, and not archery, air rifles, and bows.
Restriction for the Use of Loaded Firearms
- For the case of South Dakota hunting, a firearm is loaded in the following cases:
- If the magazine or chamber contains shells.
- If the nipple possesses a percussion cap.
- If the frozen pan contains gunpowder.
- For the case of crossbows, they will be considered loaded when they are cocked.
Restrictions for Plugged Shotguns
Shotguns used for the taking of migratory birds in South Dakota can only have a maximum of 3 shells in both the chamber and magazines. In case a plug is needed to limit the firearm capacity, it will only be a piece.
Restriction for Suppressors
If you have a suppressor that is lawfully allowed for hunting in South Dakota, you can make use of it to take games. For hunting with suppressors on private lands in South Dakota, you will need the permission of the landowner.
Archery Equipment Regulations
It is lawful to make use of compound bows, Recurve bows, longbows, and crossbows while hunting games, wildlife, and feral hogs in South Dakota. However, the type of arrow that is permitted for the hunting of games like bears, deer, and feral hogs should be one with a broadhead. Other requirements like draw weight of the arrow, length of the arrow, and let off are not regulated for South Dakota hunting.
Prohibited Hunting Activities in South Dakota
Some of the activities that are illegal while hunting in South Dakota include the following:
- It is a prohibition to hunt on private lands you do not own, or without the permission of the landowner. This includes hunting in railroad, power, or gas lines. In the case that land is posted for hunting, you must obtain written permission before you can hunt on the land.
- It is a prohibition to hunt under the influence of alcohol in South Dakota.
- It is a prohibition to possess, import, hold or release wildlife in South Dakota without a valid permit from the South Dakota Department of Natural Resources.
- It is a prohibition to hide your possession of games and wildlife or parts of their body when you illegally obtain them.
- It is a prohibition to kill or cripple a game in South Dakota if you do not have any intention to take or retrieve them.
- It is a prohibition to take, kill, or fire at farm deer there such as elks, axis deer, fallow deer, red deer, etc. It is also a prohibition to take, kill, or fire at any exotic wild animal in South Dakota such as deer, antelope, sheep that are kept with wildlife licenses for recreation, sports, and amusement.
- It is a prohibition to hunt or shoot at a game animal from the opposite side of a major road.
- It is a prohibition to hunt from vehicles, Including motorboats, powerboats, and aircraft.
- It is a prohibition to buy or sell games or part of their bodies. Exceptions are only made to parts like antlers, tails from squirrels, and deer hunting in South Dakota, hides from furbearers hunting in South Dakota, and body products from alligators.
- It is a prohibition to make use of a computer or any other similar device to discharge firearms remotely for the purpose of hunting games and wildlife.
- It is a prohibition to make use of substances like chemicals, drugs, any explosive, gas, electronically generated sounds, poisons, etc. to hunt games in South Dakota.
- It is a prohibition to make use of baits, pitfalls, hooks, nets, snares, decoys, deadfalls, etc. to take games in South Dakota.
- It is a prohibition to make use of communication devices while pursuing games and wildlife in a hunt.
- It is a prohibition to unsettle games and wildlife in their dens, holes, or anywhere they live as homes.
- It is a prohibition to shoot a firearm within the range of 50 yards across any public road in South Dakota.
- It is a prohibition to blind wildlife with lights while hunting them.
Hunters Dressing Regulations
For hunting in some particular seasons. It is compulsory for a hunter and any escort to wear fluorescent yellow as outer clothing while hunting in South Dakota. The cloth must not be less than 550 square inches, and over the hunter’s waist level. A headcover may also be included.
Some of the seasons where this dressing is required include the following:
- Firearms and primitive weapon season for deer hunting.
- Firearms and primitive weapon season for bear hunting.
- Hunting feral hogs during firearm season for either bear or deer hunting.
- Coyote hunting in Wildlife Management Areas and federal lands in South Dakota.
- You do not need to follow this dressing regulation for hunting in Wildlife Management Areas with just archery weapons. However, for small game hunting in South Dakota that coincides with bear and deer hunt, you have to follow the dress requirements.
South Dakota Hunting License, Permits, and Tags
South Dakota hunting licenses, permits, and tags are issued based on age and residency. They also have various validity periods.
For hunting and fishing license availability in South Dakota, you can only be considered as a resident of the state if you live in the state a minimum of 3 months consecutively before applying for the license.
Proof of residency accepted is a driver's license and a valid South Dakota identification card that contains your residential address. Also, a resident must be domiciled in South Dakota which means that if you have houses in other states, you can only claim South Dakota as your state of residence.
Other nonresidents that can apply for South Dakota residents permits include:
Members of the military that are on active duty in South Dakota and their dependents. Their proof to apply will be the military identification card.
College students attending a South Dakotan college and living full time in the state. Their proof to apply is a student identification card and other necessary documents.
Types of licenses, permits, and tags issued in South Dakota include the following:
Hunting and Fishing License
This license is a combination of both hunting and fishing in South Dakota. Holders of this license will be able to take part in hunting seasons and fish in various water bodies of the state. The license is available for residents and non-residents of South Dakota, and it has 3 validity periods. The annual license costs $30 for residents and $150 for non-residents. The one valid for just a day costs $5 for residents and $30 for non-residents. Then there is an additional day Hunting and fishing license that costs $1 for residents and $10 for non-residents.
Apprentice Hunting and Fishing License
This license is for the combination of fishing and hunting in Georgina and it can be purchased by beginners that need supervision while hunting or fishing. It is valid for one day and costs $5 for residents and $30 for non-residents.
This is a South Dakota Hunting license available to residents of the state that are within the age of 16 to 64. It is also available as an out-of-state hunting license for nonresident hunters. The hunting license in South Dakota has 3 validity periods. The annual license costs $15 for residents and $100 for non-residents. The one valid for just a day costs $5 for residents and $20 for non-residents. Then there is an additional day Hunting and fishing license that costs $1 for residents and $6 for non-residents.
Senior Sportsman’s License
This license is available to just residents of South Dakota that are 65 years old and above. Sportsman’s license will provide access to hunting and fishing. But it is exempted for the hunting of alligators. It is valid for a year and costs $7.
Big game licenses
This license is available to residents and nonresident hunters that want to take big games in South Dakota. It has 3 validity periods. The annual license costs $25 for residents and $225 for non-residents. The one valid for just a day costs $10 for residents and $130 for non-residents. Then there is an additional day Hunting and fishing license that costs $2 for residents and $8 for non-residents.
Harvesting License for Deer, Alligators, and Turkeys
This is an annual license available for residents and nonresidents at zero cost.
Quota Alligator Harvest Permit
This license is available for residents and non-residents and is issued only during the alligator season. It costs $75 for residents and $250 for non-residents.
This is a license for game trapping in South Dakota, and it is available for residents and non-residents of the state. It is only valid during the season of the game that you want to trap. It costs $40 for residents and $325 for non-residents.
Shooting Preserve License
This license is valid for two years. It is available for residents and nonresidents, and it costs $12 for both.
Migratory Birds and Waterfowl Stamps
This is an annual stamp for the taking of migratory birds and waterfowls in South Dakota. It is valid for 2 years, and available for residents and non-residents with a cost of $5 for both.
Disability Hunting License
This license is valid for disabled residents of South Dakota that want to take part in state hunting activities. There are two validity periods for this license. The annual license costs $3 while the 3 years’ license costs $9.
South Dakota Fishing License Permits and Tags
Fishing licenses, permits, and tags available in South Dakota include the following:
This license allows holders to fish in various water bodies in South Dakota. It is available for residents between the ages of 26 and 64, and nonresidents of all ages. There are 3 validity periods for this license. The annual license costs $15 for residents and $100 for non-residents. The one valid for just a day costs $5 for residents and $20 for non-residents. Then there is an additional day Hunting and fishing license that costs $1 for residents and $6 for non-residents.
Optional Youth Fishing License
This is a fishing license available to teenage residents of South Dakota that are within the age of 12 and 15. Nonresidents cannot purchase this license regardless of age. It is valid till the youth reach 17 years old, and it costs $10.
This license is required for residents and nonresidents that are 16 years old or more that want to fish mountain trout in South Dakota. You can only make use of this license alongside a basic fishing license. There are 3 validity periods for the Trout license. The annual license costs $10 for residents and $25 for non-residents. The one valid for just a day costs $5 for residents and $10 for non-residents. Then there is an additional day Hunting and fishing license that costs $1 for residents and $2 for non-residents.
Commercial Fishing License
This license is available to residents and non-residents for commercial purposes, but it is only valid throughout a hunting season. It costs $20 for residents and $200 for non-residents.
Disability Fishing License
This license is available for residents of South Dakota that are disabled and have valid proof to back it up. Nonresidents cannot apply for this. There are 2 validity periods for Disability Fishing License in South Dakota. The one valid for a year costs $3, and the one valid for three years costs $9.
South Dakota Hunting Season 2020/2021
There are different seasons for hunting games in South Dakota, and this is further divided into seasons for the weapons that can be used to hunt these games.
The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in South Dakota includes the following:
South Dakota Deer Hunting Seasons
- Archery Season (12th of September to 10th of January)
- Extended Archery Season (12th of September to 31st of January)
- Primitive Weapons Season (10th of October to 10th of January)
- Firearms Season (17th of October to 10th of January)
To hunt deer in South Dakota, you need a valid state hunting permit. You will also need to qualify before you can take deer in the disability hunting season. Depending on the county, there may be more regulations of the use of firearms and animals that are regarded as legal deer.
South Dakota Black Hills Bighorn Sheep Hunting Season
- General Hunting Season (1st of September to 31st of December)
South Dakota Elk Hunting Seasons
- Archery Season (12th of September to 10th of January)
- Primitive Weapons Season (10th of October to 10th of January)
- Firearms Season (17th of October to 10th of January)
- South Dakota Turkey Hunting Season
- General Hunting Season (20th of March to 15th of May)
- Special Opportunity Youth and Mobile Impaired Season (13th of March to 14th of March)
South Dakota Alligator Hunting Season
- General Hunting Season (within the sunset of 14th of August to the sunrise of 5th of October)
For alligator hunting in South Dakota, you need a permit. For every hunter, only one alligator is allowed to be taken annually.
South Dakota Small Games Hunting Season
- Fox and Bobcat Season (1st of December to 28th of February)
- Grouse Season (15th of October to 28th of February)
- Opossum Season (15th of October to 28th of February)
- Quail Season (14t of November to 28th of February)
- Rabbit Season (14th of November to 28th of February)
- Raccoon Season (15th of October to 28th of February)
- Squirrel Season (15th of August to 28th of February)
- Woodcock Season (5th of December to 18th of January)
It is important to know that the date for each game season could vary based on the different hunting zones in South Dakota. Also, hunting regulations, bag seasons, and special hunting seasons in South Dakota can vary based on the game and season.
South Dakota Wildlife Games and Fish
Games and wildlife available for hunting in South Dakota include the following
South Dakota Deer Hunting
Deer hunting in South Dakota is very popular, and it is one of the states in the US with abundant deer hunting spots. There are about 100 Wildlife Management Areas in South Dakota, and each of them guarantees optimum deer hunting. The white-tailed deer is well dispersed in all parts of the state and mostly inhabit coastal marsh and forest regions of the state.
South Dakota Mountain Lion Season
General Hunting Season (All through the year until specified bag limit is reached)
South Dakota Hog Hunting
Hog hunting in South Dakota is common in the mountainous regions of northern South Dakota. The state is home to some of the largest hogs you can find in North America. Hunters desire wild hogs, and the good reason is that they are annoying games to farmers.
South Dakota Bighorn Sheep Hunting.
Bighorn sheep hunting in South Dakota is evenly distributed in strength. However, these games are only restricted to residents of the state.
South Dakota Alligator Hunting
Alligator hunting in South Dakota takes place in the wetland areas. They inhabit places like swamps, wetlands, ponds, lakes, rivers, and other water bodies found in the wild. Alligators have also been found in drainages and ditches close to human settlements in South Dakota.
South Dakota Bobcat Hunting
Bobcats are one of the commonest predators in North America, and in South Dakota, they are evenly distributed statewide. They inhabit various parts of the state based on where they can find the most prey. Bobcat hunting in South Dakota takes place in agricultural and forested areas where they are mostly found.
South Dakota Fox Hunting
The species of fox found in South Dakota is the red fox. Red fox presence in the USA is a result of Europeans that settled in the nation. Red fox can be found in almost every part of the US including South Dakota. Red fox hunting in South Dakota occurs in areas of the state they inhabit the most, wood forests, grasslands, and croplands.
South Dakota Turkey Hunting
Turkey hunting in South Dakota is very common, and there are about 5 species of the game in the state. Turkeys are evenly dispersed in South Dakota and wild turkeys can be found almost everywhere in the state.
South Dakota Grouse Hunting
Grouse inhabit the mountain regions of northern South Dakota. They are birds that love very high elevations, and this is why the Chattahoochee forest is ideal for them. They are also available in quite a number of public hunting lands in the state.
South Dakota Rabbit Hunting
For rabbit hunting in South Dakota, the commonest species is the Eastern cottontail rabbit. Other species you can see are the Appalachian cottontail rabbit, marsh, and swamp rabbits, However, they are all referred to as cottontail rabbits.
South Dakota Raccoon Hunting
Raccoons inhabit various landscapes of South Dakota. They are mostly found in water bodies like marches, lakes, streams, swamps, and rivers in the state. You can also find them in places with hardwood trees.
South Dakota Shooting Ranges
Shooting Ranges in South Dakota that are open to the general public include the following:
- Aberdeen Gun Club.
- Archery Outfitters.
- Beacon Hill Rifle & Pistol Club.
- Big Sioux Rifle & Pistol Club.
- Tri-State Shooters Club.
- Rosebud Arrow, Rod, & Gun Club
- Tri-County Trap Range
- Outdoor Adventure Center
- Hunters Point Shooting Club
- Ghost Town Sporting Clays
- Camp Rapid National Guard Range
- Crooks Gun Club
South Dakota Hunting Land for Sale and Lease
Hunting lands for sale in South Dakota include the following:
- The Deer Valley Ranch in Custer County has 133± deeded acres for deer hunting.
- Woonsocket, South Dakota (Sanborn County), 154 acres.
- Cronkhite Farm offers 2356 deeded acres of prime hunting land in Jones County, South Dakota.
- Income-producing tillable land and hayfield with duck sloughs and pheasant habitat in Webster, South Dakota (Day County) 160 acres.
- The Rafter R Ranch in Custer County, South Dakota has 485± deeded acres and excellent big game hunting opportunities.
Hunting lands for lease in South Dakota include the following:
- Deer Hunting Land for Lease for Bow Hunting Season in Jerauld County, 320 acres.
- 1024 Acres of River Hills Prime Whitetail and Mule Deer Hunting with Turkey, Pheasant, Prairie Dog in Gregory County.