South Dakota Hunting Season

John Lewis

South Dakota Hunting Seasons 2024-2025 New Dates & Rules

SD hunting seasons, South dakota, South Dakota Hunting Season, South Dakota Hunting Season 2023

Get ready for a great hunting season in the beautiful state of South Dakota! It has some of the best outdoor opportunities in the United States. This page will provide an overview of the South Dakota hunting regulation, including information about species, regulations, and licenses.

South Dakota hunting seasons

You may also check the season durations and bag restrictions from the Game, Fish, and Parks website or manual. Archery deer season in South Dakota lasts from September to February, while muzzleloader and modern rifle seasons are between October and December. Special youth seasons, antlerless-only hunts on private land, and other restrictions may be in force in some zones.

Big Games


West River Special BuckNov 16 – Dec 1, 2024
East River Special BuckNov 23 – Dec 8, 2024


Custer State Park Early ArcherySep 1, 2024 – Sep 30, 2024
Custer State Park FirearmsOct 1, 2024 – Oct 31, 2024


ArcheryAug 17 – Oct 31, 2024
FirearmsSep 28 – Oct 13, 2024
MentoredAug 17 – Oct 31, 2024
SpecialSep 28 – Oct 13, 2024
Nonresident Archery Public/Private Land (Closed during firearms)Aug 17 – Oct 31, 2024
Archery Access PermitAug 17 – Oct 31, 2024 Top of Form Bottom of Form

Trophy Buffalo

  • Nov 18 – Jan 17, 2025 (Custer State Park)

Non-Trophy Buffalo

  • Oct 7 – Nov 15, 2024 (Custer State Park )


  • Sep 1-Dec 31


  • Sep 1-Dec 31

Mountain Lion

Black HillsDec 26, 2023 – Apr 30, 2024
Outside Black Hills Fire Protection DistrictJan 1 – Jan 31, 2024
Black Hills (2025)Dec 26, 2024 – Apr 30, 2025


PrairieApr 13 – May 31, 2024
MentoredApr 13 – May 31, 2024
Prairie ArcheryApr 13 – May 31, 2024
Black HillsApr 27 – May 31, 2024
Black Hills ArcheryApr 27 – May 31, 2024
Custer State ParkApr 27 – May 19, 2024
PrairieApr 12 – May 31, 2025
Prairie ArcheryApr 12 – May 31, 2025
Black HillsApr 26 – May 31, 2025
Black Hills ArcheryApr 26 – May 31, 2025
Custer State ParkApr 26 – May 18, 2025 Top of Form Bottom of Form
RegularNov 1, 2024 – Jan 31, 2025
MentoredNov 1, 2024 – Jan 31, 2025

Small Game


  • Sep 1, 2024 – Feb 28, 2025


  • December 26 – April 30


Cottontail RabbitSep 1, 2024 – Feb 28, 2025 Top of Form Bottom of Form


Tree SquirrelSep 1, 2024 – Feb 28, 2025


  • Jan 1- Dec 31

Upland Birds


TraditionalOct 19, 2024 – Jan 31, 2025
Youth OnlySep 28 – Oct 6, 2024
Resident OnlyOct 12 – Oct 14, 2024 Top of Form Bottom of Form


  • Sep 21, 2024 – Jan 5, 2025


  • Oct 19, 2024 – Jan 5, 2025

Migratory Birds


Sep 1 – Oct 31, 2024
Mar 1 – Apr 30, 2025


Sep 1 – Nov 9, 2024


Low Plains NorthSep 21 – Dec 3, 2024
Low Plains MiddleSep 21 – Dec 3, 2024
Low Plains SouthOct 26, 2024 – Jan 7, 2025
High PlainsOct 12, 2024 – Jan 16, 2025


Canada Goose
Resident SpecialOct 19 – Dec 22, 2024
Unit 1 EarlySep 1 – Sep 30, 2024
Unit 2Nov 4, 2024 – Feb 16, 2025
Unit 2 (2023)Nov 6, 2023 – Feb 18, 2024
Unit 3Jan 13 – Jan 21, 2024
Bennett CountyOct 19 – Dec 22, 2024
Unit 1Oct 1, 2021 – Dec 16, 2024
Bennett County, SecondJan 11 – Jan 19, 2025
Light Goose
Conservation OrderFeb 19 – May 15, 2024
RegularSep 28, 2024 – Jan 10, 2025
White-fronted Goose
RegularSep 28 – Dec 10, 2024 Top of Form Bottom of Form

  • Sep 1 – Oct 31, 2024
  • Sep 28, 2024 – Jan 10, 2025
  • Sep 28 – Nov 24, 2024



  • Jan 1- Dec 31


  • Nov 1 – Apr 30


West , East River26-Dec – 15-Feb
Nonresidents14-Jan – 15-Feb


  • Jan 1- Dec 31


  • Jan 1- Dec 31

Mink and Weasel

Resident1-Nov – Jan 31
Nonresident1-Dec – Jan 31


West River1-Jan – Dec 31
Black Hills Fire Protection District1-Nov – Apr 30
East River1-Nov – Apr 30
Statewide1-Apr-23 – Aug 31
Nonresidents1-Dec – Mar 15


Residents1-Jan – 31-Dec
Nonresidents1-Dec – 15-Mar


  • Jan 1- Dec 31


  • Jan 1- Dec 31

Prairie dog hunting South Dakota

Prairie dog hunting south Dakota
Prairie dog game South Dakota

SD Prairie dog important resources:

Hunting License Fees

SD General Hunting Regulations

  • A valid big-game license must always be carried.
  • The hunter must always carry their license and tag with them.
  • You may use the top portion of your big game license until January 31, 2023.
  • Lawful pursuing animals include turkeys, deer, and deer without antlers.
  • When transferring a big game animal, the tag must be signed, dated, and affixed to the animal.
  • The tag may be used to transport and maintain the animal securely.
  • Unless the animal has been processed or cooked for human food, the tag or certain body pieces must go with it.
  • Before shipping a wild turkey, certain parts or a processing receipt must be provided.
  • South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks may answer questions.
  • Joining or assisting a big game hunter without a valid license is illegal (exceptions for legally carrying a pistol or hunting a small game apply).
  • No minor under 16 should hunt without a chaperone (except for legally carrying a pistol or possessing a big game license application).
  • For big game, fully automatic firearms or self-loading or auto-loading rifles containing more than six bullets are banned.
  • Deer and antelope may only be hunted with rifles and shotguns rated at least 1,000 foot-pounds and pistols rated at least 500 foot-pounds (only soft-point or expanding bullets allowed).
  • Elk requires a.243 rifles with at least 1,700 foot-pounds of muzzle force (only soft point or expanding bullets allowed).
  • Handguns or shoulder-mounted weapons with at least 500 foot-pounds of muzzle energy may be used to hunt turkeys (muzzleloading firearms of at least .44 caliber and muzzleloading shotguns also allowed).
  • Muzzleloading-only seasons ban telescopic sights and require long firearms.
  • 44-caliber rifles and 50-caliber handguns are authorized.
  • Outside of archery and muzzleloading seasons, any authorized weapon, muzzleloading firearm, or archery equipment may be used, and crossbows may replace firearms (must have a pull of at least 120 pounds and mechanical safety, and telescopic sights are permitted).
  • The large game license is a two-part document with a tag and the licensee’s personal information. Hunting licenses and tags are always required.
  • All deer, elk, female and adolescent antelope, and male and female turkeys are permissible games.
  • Before taking a animal to a road, camp, farmyard, home, or vehicle, the license tag must be signed, dated, and secured to the animal.
  • Non-licensed hunters accompanying licensed hunters must also follow certain restrictions, such as carrying the maximum number of rifles.
  • South Dakota law requires a deer or antelope rifle to have at least 1,000 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, while an elk rifle must have at least 1,700 foot-pounds and be at least.243 caliber. You need a rifle with 700 foot-pounds of muzzle power or a.44-caliber muzzleloader to bag a gobbler.
  • For a bow-hunting big game, you can’t utilize explosive points, crossbows, electronic arrow releases, or telescopic sights.
  • South Dakota law forbids putting up, utilizing, or maintaining bait stations to attract large game, employing dogs on hunts, hunting on interstates or controlled-access facilities, firing weapons inside the right-of-way of an upgraded public roadway, etc.
  • It’s illegal to chase, harass, intercept, or disturb big animals while driving.
  • It’s illegal to use a mobile phone or another electronic device when pursuing big animals in a vehicle.
  • Moving vehicles can’t fire guns or bows (except for hunters with Disabled Hunter permits, who can hunt coyotes, jackrabbits, rodents, skunks, badgers, raccoons, and foxes).
  • Sticking a gun out the window to shoot coyotes, jackrabbits, rats, skunks, badgers, raccoons, or foxes is lawful.
  • Except for specific roads and parking spots, operating a motorized vehicle on Game, Fish, and Parks property or leased land is illegal without the manager’s or lessee’s written permission.
  • Without authorization, it’s illegal to fire down wild birds or animals from an airplane.
  • Aerial hunting, taking, concentrating, driving, rallying, stirring up, locating, or spotting any wild bird or animal is prohibited, except for using a drone to locate or scout a predator or varmint on privately owned land with permission from the landowner or lessee outside of September, October, and November.
  • Use, hunting, or shooting from a motorized boat is illegal unless the vessel is beached, at anchor, tethered to a permanent hunting blind or natural cover, or used to collect fallen animals.
  • On Commissioner of School and Public Lands land, motorized hunting, fishing, and trapping are forbidden unless done on roads, trails, or parking spots properly designated by Game, Fish, and Parks.

South Dakota Hunting Seasons
South Dakota Hunting Seasons: Photo

Fines & Penalties

Please find below a table outlining the possible penalties for Class 1 violations committed in South Dakota:

Unlawful taking or killing of large gameFines and/or jail time, loss of hunting rights for one year
Possession of twice the authorized daily or possession limit of a controlled wild animalPotential civil liability doubles
Stealing large game trophiesLoss of points of preference
Unlawful taking or killing a Mountain goat or bighorn sheepUp to $10,000 per animal
Unlawful taking or killing a TurkeyUp to $200 each


523 East Capitol Ave, Pierre, SD 57501
Email[email protected]


Can I save my license on my phone or app for hunting or trapping in SD?

Small game licenses for South Dakota may be kept on a mobile device or app. You may download the GFP mobile app and connect to the licensing system, or you can take a picture of the paper license and save it in your phone’s gallery. If the license contains a bar code, GFP conservation officers may scan it remotely, removing the need to carry a backup. The license may also be carried in written form. Fishing licenses, federal stamps, and tags won’t be impacted, but hunting licenses, federal stamps, and tags are still required.

What's the cost of a South Dakota Combination license for adults?

Adults in South Dakota over 18 can hunt small game like pheasants, grouse, partridge, quail, cottontail rabbits, and tree squirrels for a fee of $55. The list of creatures that may be lawfully hunted by hunters with this license includes coyotes, foxes, skunks, raccoons, badgers, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, ravens, jackrabbits, porcupines, and marmots. However, this license does not apply to furbearers. Anyone 65 or older can obtain a Senior Combination License, which grants the same rights as a regular driver’s license.

How much is a South Dakota Senior Resident Combination license?

A Senior Combination License, available to South Dakotans 65 and over for $40, allows for frogs, turtles, cottontail rabbits, tree squirrels, pheasants, and grouse, partridges, quail, and cottontail rabbits. Additionally, coyotes, foxes, skunks, raccoons, badgers, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, ravens, jackrabbits, porcupines, and marmots can all be legally hunted by license holders. However, this license does not cover hunting for furbearers.

Who qualifies for the Resident Reduced Fee?

For anyone with complete disabilities or veterans who satisfy certain requirements, South Dakota grants a Disabled/Veteran Hunting and Fishing Card. Discounts are offered for hunting and fishing in South Dakota with the $10, 4-year card. Families of disabled and seasoned hunters and fishermen may also use this card.

John Lewis
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