When you are looking for hunts that recall the time of westward expansion and the rough and tumble saloon culture of Deadwood and the Black Hills territory in the 1800's it's time to consider how to go public hunting in South Dakota. With its rolling hills and extensive grassland, South Dakota is home to a broad array of some of the best game to pursue.
- Complete hunter safety. Hunters age twelve through sixteen must complete hunter safety to buy a hunting license. Hunter safety classes are delivered in all counties, but classes fill up fast, so reserve your spot early.
- Choose your hunt. South Dakota, with its grasslands and rolling hills is rich with game, from small game such as crow, quail, pheasant, prairie chicken, rabbit and squirrel, to migratory birds, coyote and large game including antelope, deer, elk, mountain goat, and buffalo. If you long to pursue Tatanka with a bow or rifle where Custer made his last stand, South Dakota is the place for you.
Research public land. One of the most unique opportunities to go public hunting in South Dakota is in Custer State Park. The park maintains herds of Buffalo, Elk, Deer and Pronghorn, mostly for viewing by the public. Hunting is one of the main tools the park uses for managing the heard. To make arrangements, contact the park directly. This is but one opportunity to go public hunting in South Dakota. Visit the Department of Game, Fish and Parks for details on public hunting opportunities.
- Review the South Dakota hunting regulations. Specific rules govern game hunting along federal and native lands, so read the guidelines carefully. Game are a natural resource, and therefore hunting is highly regulated. Be sure of the laws and abide by them.
- Buy licenses, tags, and stamps as required. South Dakota offers general and limited issue licenses. General licenses may be purchased over the counter, but to receive limited issue licenses you'll need to enter a drawing for a chance to win the tickets. The limited issue licenses open opportunities that may result in a greater chance of success on your hunt.
- Plan your hunt. Plan everything you will need to take with you on your hunt, when and where you will go, and when you will be back.
- Give notice of your hunt. Like many great places to hunt, South Dakota has severe weather extremes. It is important you give notice where you will go, when you will be back, and who you will be with in case you become lost, injured or weather takes a severe turn that hinders your progress. Leave a copy of your hunting plan with friends or family so the authorities can be notified if you are unable to return at the specified time.
- Have fun, stay safe. As with any hunt, abide by safety best practices. Control your muzzle, keep the safety on until you are ready to shoot, keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned, and be sure of your target, and what is before and beyond.
- Eat. The game available in South Dakota is rich, healthy food. Consider all the buffalo burgers, ribs, steaks and roasts you can have from a public hunt for big game in South Dakota. Be sure you will be able to harvest the game and take it to a game proccessing center to be sure all the food is harvested from your game.