South Dakota2024-02-29T04:27:41+00:00

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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 DrawNon-residentDeerMarch 25, 2024April 18, 2024
South Dakota Nonresident Archery Antelope DrawNon-residentAntelopeMarch 25, 2024April 23, 2024
South Dakota Big Game DrawResidentElk, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain GoatApril 25, 2024May 20, 2024
South Dakota Combined Deer DrawBothDeerMay 30, 2024June 17, 2024
South Dakota Antelope Firearm DrawBothAntelopeJuly 24, 2024August 13, 2024
South Dakota Points-Only PurchaseBothDeer, Antelope, Turkey, ElkSeptember 15, 2024December 15, 2024

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

DeerPreference PointBoth
PronghornPreference PointBoth
ElkPreference PointResident
Preference PointBoth

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. A summary of general and species specific fees are below.

General Fees

ItemResident PriceNon-Resident Price
Habitat Stamp$10.00$25.00
Preference Point Purchase Fee$5.00$10.00

Species Specific Fees

ItemResident PriceNon-Resident Price
Antelope - Any$40.00$286.00
Antelope - Doe$20.00$80.00
Antelope - Custer State Park$156.00N/A
Deer - Any$40.00$286.00
Deer - Doe$20.00$80.00
Elk - Custer State Park$316.00N/A
Bighorn Sheep$290.00N/A
Mountain Goat$290.00N/A
Mountain Lion$28.00N/A

South Dakota Hunting Regulations

Hunters Education

  • 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.

Age Restrictions

  • 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.

Archery Limitations

  • 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

Group Hunting

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

Are archery deer and antelope tags available OTC in South Dakota?2023-05-02T00:30:55+00:00

Public land tags are no longer available OTC in South Dakota. Starting in 2023, nonresidents need to apply through the Nonresident Archery Public Land Deer and Antelope draws. However, private land only tags may still be purchased at any time during the season.

Waiting Periods

Youth Hunting

Landowner Tag Options

Weapon Restrictions

Return / Transfer Tags

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