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Learn About South Dakota Hunting Licenses

Sportsmen and women need a South Dakota hunting license before they may legally hunt in the state. However, young South Dakota residents who participate in the state’s mentored youth program are exempt from these licensing requirements if they are younger than 16 years of age and hunt alongside a licensed adult.

As part of the program, licensed adults must be at least 18 years of age and they must first obtain written consent from the youth’s parent or legal guardian. Moreover, other DNR license credentials are available to applicants who are at least 12 years of age.

These licenses are available for big and small game hunters. However, eligible customers who are younger than 16 years of age must complete a hunter education program before they may obtain a license.

To obtain a South Dakota hunting permit or any necessary licenses and tags, customers may apply online or in person. To apply online, customers must create an account under the website of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department (GFP), or they may login with an existing user name and password.

Alternately, customers may apply for a DNR hunting license in person at participating County Treasurer offices or local licensing agents. When applying, applicants must present proof of their identification and Social Security Number (SSN), and evidence of completing a hunter education course, unless they are exempt from completing a class.  

How to Get a Hunting License in South Dakota

Sportsmen must obtain a South Dakota hunting permit and any applicable licenses or tags through the state’s Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Department. In most cases, applicants may obtain an online hunting license, or they may complete a paper application and submit it in person. If applicants are younger than 16 years of age, however, they must also complete a hunter education course.

As part of the requirements for proper licensing, hunters must keep a paper or electronic copy of their license on them whenever they hunt or trap in the state. If they choose to keep an electronic copy on them rather than a paper credential, they may login to their online GFP account to access their license at any time. When asked, they may present the electronic version as proof of licensure.

Types of Hunting Licenses in South Dakota

While a lifetime hunting license in South Dakota is not available to resident or nonresident sportsmen in the state, many other types of credentials are. For instance, credentials are available to resident and nonresident sportsmen who are between 12 and 15 years of age and wish to hunt for small game such as squirrel or gray fox, while combination licenses are available to resident youths who wish to hunt and fish in the state. Additionally, qualifying residents or veterans with disabilities may obtain a combination license that lasts up to four years.

Moreover, many resident and nonresident hunting license credentials are also available to sportsmen who wish to trap furbearing animals or hunt migratory birds, small game or varmint. These licenses are available under the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Department.

Hunter Safety and Education Courses in South Dakota

Minors must complete a hunter safety course in South Dakota before they may apply for a hunting license under the Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Department, unless they are exempt from doing so. For instance, South Dakota residents must complete a HuntSAFE course if they are younger than 16 years of age and wish to obtain a hunting license.

Additionally, hunting mentors must complete a hunters education program if they wish to mentor unlicensed youths. However, nonresident youths are exempt from meeting these requirements if they can present proof of an out-of-state hunting license.

After completing a hunter education course in SD, students receive a certificate of completion, as proof of passing a safety program is needed to apply for a youth hunting license. If sportsmen lose their hunter safety card, however, they must contact the GFP to obtain a replacement.

Hunting Laws and Regulations in South Dakota

Before the South Dakota hunting season begins, hunters can prepare themselves for the months ahead by reviewing the state’s current laws and regulations under the Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Department. Many new hunting regulations take effect before the start of each season and often pertain to daily bag limits, safety requirements and seasonal start and end dates.

If hunters do not abide by the state’s laws and regulations, or if the GFP convicts them of a wildlife violation, they may lose their hunting privileges.

Moreover, other regulations often pertain to minimum age and hunter education requirements, legal shooting hours and permitted locations. For instance, permitted locations may include public Game Protection Areas (GPAs) or private lands under the Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). Before hunting on a private land, however, hunters generally need to obtain permission from the landowner.