South Dakota Hunting Laws

South Dakota Hunting Laws

South Dakota Hunting Laws

South Dakota has one of the strongest hunting traditions and therefore some of the most lenient state gun laws in the country. With approximately 17% of the population over the age of 18 legally registered to hunt, South Dakota is a state that is very friendly to the sport of hunting. Because hunting is so popular, South Dakota law on guns is among the most lenient in the country.

Citizens may choose to carry a concealed handgun on their person with a permit. Hunting in South Dakota is vital to the state's economy with over $275 million in state revenue from hunting related expenses like gun sales, equipment, licenses, and permits in 2004. South Dakota is home to 7 different gun companies hand producing premium hunting firearms and handguns annually.

To maintain the vitality of the South Dakota's large hunting economy and culture, conservationists, lawmakers, and hunters have worked together to create hunting legislation that promotes ecological sustainability. Hunters cannot use permanent tree stands to hunt big game on public hunting lands.

No turkeys may be shot while in trees or roosts. Lead shot is legal ammunition to shoot turkeys in South Dakota. However, the use of non-toxic shot is required on all public hunting lands.  The use of night vision equipment or artificial lights to hunt animals is also illegal. The shining of a beam of artificial light at a game animal give hunters unfair advantage and is thus an unsustainable practice.

Hunting with lights is only legal in the case of hunting raccoons and badgers but are only to be used after a dog has chased them up a tree. Hunting Dogs in South Dakota must have all their vaccinations and other shots up to date and checked by a veterinarian. Electronic animal calls are not to be used to attract migratory birds as this gives hunters an unfair advantage with the exception of crows. This law also applies to all species of big game, including turkey. Taking game must only done with a firearm, bow and arrow, or by falconry. All other methods of hunting are illegal.

South Dakota hunting legislation also promotes safety and respectful human interaction. It is illegal to hunt on Native American Reservations as the sovereignty of tribal lands is to be respected by all. The use of motor vehicles on public hunting lands is prohibited except on designated roads and parking lots. The shooting of game from a moving vehicle is against the law on public hunting grounds in the state of South Dakota.

Harassment of hunters who show intent of lawfully taking and harvesting game is against the law. South Dakota is encourages all citizens to turn in poachers in the State. South Dakota has a zero tolerance policy against poaching; poaching is the act of illegally hunting on private property without permission. South Dakota made 183 poaching arrests in 2008 with total fines over 25,000 and over 1,000 total days of jail-time.

South Dakota is yet another state where hunting legislation serves the interests of both hunters and environmentalists in a harmonious matter. South Dakota's hunting legislation also institutionalizes the state's long tradition of hunting that dates back to the 19th century days of being an open frontier. Hunting and ecological conservation is not conflict of interest as many allege. South Dakota has some of the fewest endangered game species as a result of reasonable hunting legislation.





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