South Dakota Hunting Overview
South Dakota offers diverse hunting opportunities managed through South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, with six big game species roaming its lands. That includes resident-hunted species elk, bighorn sheep, and rocky mountain goat, along with deer and antelope that nonresidents can also hunt. Mule and whitetail deer are the primary focus. Archery opportunities for deer and antelope were formerly available over-the counter, but are now handled through a limited entry draw for nonresidents, as described here. Rifle and muzzleloader hunting tags for these species continue to be distributed through drawings. Private lands make up the majority of South Dakota’s territory, including areas where hunting is not permitted, such as Wind Cave National Park. However, hunters can still enjoy public hunting opportunities, notably Custer State Park. To obtain tags for elk, bighorn sheep, and rocky mountain goat, resident hunters must enter a drawing.
Big Game Species
Resident only species: Elk, sheep, goat, buffalo/bison
Resident and nonresident species: Deer (mule and whitetail), antelope
Draw and OTC Sales and Dates
|South Dakota Nonresident Archery Deer Draw||Non-resident||Deer||April 18, 2023||May 11, 2023
|South Dakota Big Game Draw||Resident||Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat||April 27, 2023||May 18, 2023
|South Dakota Nonresident Archery Antelope Draw||Non-resident||Antelope||May 2, 2023||May 25, 2023
|South Dakota Combined Deer Draw||Both||Deer||May 30, 2023||June 14, 2023
|South Dakota Antelope Firearm Draw||Both||Antelope||July 18, 2023 (tentative)||August 17, 2023 (tentative)
|South Dakota Points-Only Purchase||Both||Deer, Antelope, Turkey, Elk||September 15, 2023||December 15, 2023
South Dakota Hunting Point System
In South Dakota, a preference system is used for big game hunting draws. Some draws can use points, but they are not necessarily needed given that tags may occasionally be drawn with 0 points. At the time of any specific draw, hunters will have the option to use their points or not use them. Choosing to not use them will similar to applying with zero points.
If an applicant is unsuccessful in their first choice during the first drawing, they have the option to purchase a preference point. You muse specifically select the box to “purchase a point” in order to do so. However, you can’t apply for a “point-only” option in the draw, meaning you will be entered into the draw with zero points. If you are unable to hunt in a specific year, you should purchase points later in the year to avoid accidentally drawing, unless you know the odds are zero at your point leve.
Additional details on the point system:
- Points are species specific, and can apply to multiple draws at different draws and dates.
- An applicant can purchase one point every year that they are unsuccessful in the drawing.
- Applicants can choose to purchase preference points automatically if unsuccessful in the draw.
- If you choose not to enter a draw, preference points can be bought between September 15 and December 15 of each year.
- Accumulated preference points are required to be used during the first choice selection of the first drawing for any season.
- Applicants can use preference points for their second choice during the first drawing and for any subsequent drawings.
- If an applicant draws a license using preference points but decides to return it before the start of the season, their preference points will be reinstated, and they will be reimbursed their license fee while still maintaining eligibility for future drawings.
- Purchased preference points are automatically credited to an applicant, even if they do not apply for the following year’s season.
South Dakota Point Types
How to build points
Points can be acquired through the annual draws, or can be purchased during the annual points purchase window from September 15 – December 15. Points are used for first choice applications only. A Habitat Stamp and point fee are required to acquire points, which makes them very cheap relative to some other states.
Tags, Licenses, and Pricing
Hunters must purchase a Habitat Stamp to participate in draws, but no other fees are required. License fees are paid upon successful draw. Point purchase fees, if you choose to purchase a point, are also paid at the time of the draw results.
|Item||Resident Price||Non-Resident Price
|Preference Point Purchase Fee||$5.00||$10.00
|Item||Resident Price||Non-Resident Price
|Antelope - Any||$40.00||$286.00
|Antelope - Doe||$20.00||$80.00
|Antelope - Custer State Park||$156.00||N/A
|Deer - Any||$40.00||$286.00
|Deer - Doe||$20.00||$80.00
|Elk - Custer State Park||$316.00||N/A
South Dakota Hunting Regulations
- Nonresidents under age 16 must include the certificate number from their hunter safety card, or a current or previous hunting license issued to them from any state.
- Hunters must be 12 years old by December 31, 2023, to hunt in South Dakota. Nonresidents aged under 16 must include a hunter safety card or current/previous hunting license number issued by any state.
- Mechanical broadheads and lighted nocks are allowed.
- Telescopic sights and scopes are not allowed. Video devices and lighted pins are allowed.
- Draw weights must be 40 pounds or greater for hunting elk, and 30 pounds or greater for all other big game.
- Crossbows and draw-lock devices are not allowed in archery seasons, except with a crossbow permit/draw-lock permit
If group applications match first choices, applicants will be treated as a group. All applicants will either be successful or unsuccessful in the drawings. No more than six applicants may be submitted in the same application. Applicants with preference points should note that applying with applicants with fewer preference points gives all applicants the lowest preference point balance represented in the group.
South Dakota Hunting FAQ