South Dakota – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/30/2012 in Archery, Hunting, News, Regulations, Whitetail Deer
Tags: , , , ,

This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.

South Dakota

Is the information easy to find?

The South Dakota Fish, Game and Parks Hunting Regulations website is at the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

First time users will have very little trouble finding information on when to hunt, and where to hunt in South Dakota, however finding the fees for big game licenses is very difficult. After reviewing more than ten pages of information, the prices for big game are still absent.  The general links lead to pages with good information on them, paying attention to the links in the body of the page usually leads immediately to information.  Provided hunters aren’t trying to find out the cost of tags, the site is well designed. Even the left over tag pages do not contain pricing information.  (Tag pricing was finally found in the specific application PDFs by sub-unit within the area, such as the 2012 Black Hills Deer/Fall Turkey PDF.)

Grade: D

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

South Dakota requires residents and nonresidents both apply for big game tags through a lottery system. There is a process for hunters to review and apply for left over licenses.  The worst aspect of these pages is the same as stated above – lack of pricing information.

Grade: D

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Even a Google search did not return the price of deer tags in South Dakota.  After viewing many pages, the pricing information can be found in the location-specific PDF files, such as the 2012 Black Hills document mentioned above.  This is an exceptionally aggravating method of conveying pricing information to curious hunters.  Most people would not think to dig that far into the PDF files to find the cost of a tag.

The price for residents based on the Black Hills data is $35.00, nonresident fees are $285.00:

01: Valid for one any deer.
200 resident ($35); 16 nonresident ($285)
11: Valid for one any whitetail.
3,000 resident ($35); 240 nonresident ($285)

It’s worthwhile to note that in both instances, nonresidents are limited to less than 10% of the available tags.

Grade: C

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

South Dakota uses a drop down menu on the Deer Seasons page to help hunters find the season dates quickly.

Grade: A

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

Public hunting is readily available in South Dakota, with a Rules and Regulations page that spells out land type-specific regulations.  There is a very nice map page that is sortable, printable, and has easy to use controls.

Grade: A

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Chronic Wasting Disease is present in South Dakota:

How often does it occur?

Surveillance by hunter-harvest survey and testing of sickly deer and elk implies CWD is relatively rare in free-roaming cervids when the number of animals present is considered. Thus far, in South Dakota, thirteen years of surveillance and testing of wild deer and elk have shown 96 CWD positive deer and 44 CWD positive elk out of 21,493 deer and elk tested. Of the 140 positive animals, Wind Cave National Park has discovered 23 elk and 8 deer that tested positive. In the 2009-2010 sampling period, 28 animals (21 deer, 7 elk) were found that were infected with CWD.

Other than Chronic Wasting Disease, there do not appear to be other major issues that would prevent hunters from enjoying South Dakota.

Grade: B

Summary: Final Grade B-

South Dakota needs to create a ‘Big Game Permit Fees’ page, the aggravation of having to find the information in PDF files specific to the area and hunt type is enough to drive off potential hunters.  The web site is otherwise interesting, interactive and very easy to use, why the list of fees is either hidden so well a dedicated search couldn’t find it, or does not exist, is an interesting question.

States CompletedAlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelaware,

FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndiana, IowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMaryland

MassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew Hampshire

New JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvania,

Rhode Island, South Carolina,


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