South Dakota Deer Hunting

South Dakota Deer Hunting

Like pheasant hunting, deer hunting is another popular activity for South Dakota. Although deer can be hunted all throughout the state the Black Hills area offers the largest abundance of deer. Spanning hundreds of miles and towering up to elevations of more than 7,000 feet, the pine-covered mountains of the Black Hills are a deer hunter’s dream.

Plentiful hunting can be had among thick groves of white spruce, aspen, ponderosa pine, and white spruce. The area is marked by geological contrasts: rolling hills give way to sweeping prairies, while the steepest peaks are flanked by deep gorges.

Of the 2.3 million acres spanned by the Black Hills, a staggering 1.2 million acres is designated as hunting area, with a vast majority classified as public land. Of the deer available to be hunted in the Black Hills, a large majority (approximately 75%) are white-tailed deer, while the remaining are mule deer. Outside of the Black Hills, the West River region of South Dakota (consisting of rolling hills and rivers west of the Missouri River) is also home to plentiful whitetails and mule deer.

The designated deer hunting seasons vary based on region and type of deer. Black Hills deer hunting licenses are granted by random lottery drawings.

When hunting for big game, South Dakotan hunters must wear at least one outer garment (i.e. a coat, hat, or vest) in fluorescent orange. Most deer hunters opt to camp or lodge in the surrounding cities of Lead, Deadwood, Custer, Hill City, Hot Springs, or Spearfish.

Hunting Lodges and Guides

If you are a non-resident coming to South Dakota to hunt deer, aside from actually knowing somebody in-state, the next best thing is staying at and utilizing the deer hunting guide services of the many hunting lodges in the state. You will be provided with top rate accommodations and provided with some of the best hunting you will ever be a part of!

Learn more about South Dakota Deer Hunting Lodges. If you are interested in a guided service, most of the hunting lodges do provide that, but we have provided a page displaying the hunting lodges we know have guided hunts. Learn more about South Dakota Deer Hunting Guides.

Applying for a License

While hunting for small game in the state is fairly limitless in how many hunting licenses are issued, the big game are a little tougher to come by. To hunt deer in South Dakota you must apply for a license before you can hunt deer as the GFP controls the number of animals to be harvested. Learn more about South Dakota Deer Hunting Licenses and application deadlines.

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