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Turkey Hunting in South Dakota

South Dakota offers spring and fall turkey seasons open to both residents and nonresidents.  License options include a Black Hills license or a Prairie-turkey license. For harvest needs, some prairie units may offer two-tag options.

South Dakota's prairie turkey firearms licenses are limited in number and distributed by lottery drawings. 
Black Hills spring turkey licenses are available by application only through the Game, Fish and Parks License Office in Pierre. Applications may be submitted online or via mail through the end of the season, but please allow a minimum of 7-10 days for delivery of your license.

Black Hills fall turkey licenses, if available, are limited in number and sold via lottery drawing. Hunters should either acquire and complete a paper application and mail it to the the Game, Fish and Parks license office on or before the indicated deadline, or apply online with a credit card. See the links above for applications, information and to apply online.

CusterState Park spring turkey licenses are resident-only. Fall turkey licenses are usually not available there.
Each year, paper application requests are accepted after January 1. Spring turkey applications become available in early February with a first deadline in late February. Fall Turkey applications are available in May/June with a mid-July first deadline.

Youths who are at least 12 years of age may hunt in the spring turkey season. Youths who will turn 12 before Jan. 1 may apply for or buy licenses and may hunt in any open season beginning on or after Sept. 1. Their hunter safety card is required when purchasing a Black Hills or archery license over the counter.   A parents or guardian must accompany the youth when obtaining the license. A copy of their hunter safety card must be included with the application to get a prairie turkey license. Anyone younger cannot hunt in South Dakota.

Resident Mentored Hunting
is available for youth age 10 through 16. This is a separate application process from the normal turkey application (See Resident Mentored Hunt application form). This is a one-to-one mentorship between an adult and the youth. The youth is not required to have hunter safety certification for this hunt, but certification is required of the mentor. Other requirements are listed in the application form.
(to purchase a license see licensing information above)
The Black Hills reach an elevation of more than 7,000 feet. Thick stands of ponderosa pine, white spruce, aspen and bur oak cover the land. The terrain varies from rolling hills and prairies to high mountains, rimrock and deep gorges.

The hunting unit stretches 100 miles from north to south and 40 miles east to west. It covers 2.3 million acres. More than 50 percent is open to public hunting. Turkey hunting success here averages about 40 percent.
Road access to the area is very good. Almost any good hunting area can be reached by pickup truck. There are a few areas with limited access where a hunter can walk in and forget about being bothered by other hunters.

Most hunters stay in one of the many campgrounds or motels in cities like Custer, Deadwood, Lead, HillCity, Rapid City, Spearfish and Hot Springs.  For information on accommodations write to the Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Association, 900 Jackson Blvd., Rapid City, SD 57702. 

A Black Hills map is available for the U.S. Forest Service, 1019 North 5th Street; Custer, SD57730. For price and how to obtain a Black Hills map, call (605) 673-9200.  To order a map with a credit card, call (605) 745-7020.

There are a limited number of both resident and nonresident licenses available for units west of the Missouri River. Licenses must be applied for and are issued through a lottery. Because much prairie turkey hunting takes place on private land, hunters should have permission to hunt private lands before applying for a license.

State licenses are not valid on trust lands of an Indian tribe unless authorized by the tribal council. Individual tribes may require a tribal permit to hunt on their lands. Contact the individual tribes to find out what licenses they offer and the cost.

Not all the land inside the South Dakota reservations is under tribal jurisdiction. If you hunt on private land deeded to non-Indians, you must have a state license.

Lower Brule--605/473-5666
Pine Ridge--605/455-2584
Cheyenne River--605/964-7812
Standing Rock--701/854-7236
Crow Creek--605/245-2187
Flandreau Santee Sioux--(605) 997-5123

Contact the South Dakota Department of Tourism,
CapitolLakePlaza, Pierre, SD 57501 for a free copy of the Vacation Guide, which contains listings of camping and motel facilities.

All first-time bowhunters and all bowhunters under the age of 16 must complete a National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF) sanctioned Bowhunter Education Course before applying for any of South Dakota’s archery turkey (big game) licenses.

The archery license is valid statewide except for Custer State Parks and a few eastern counties (see application).

There is no limit on the number of archery licenses, but they are all issued by the Licensing Office in Pierre.

Information is provided by the South Dakota GF&P
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Posted On: 01/20/2009 3:44 PM
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Tags: turkey, license, south, dakota, hunting, black, hills, spring, prairie, open
More Tags: Black Hills, South Dakota, Turkey, archery, Rapid City, Game, Fish and Parks License Office, National Bowhunter Education Foundation, State Park, turkey applications, The Black Hills, Missouri River, Cheyenne River, Lakes Association, Licensing Office, South Dakota Department, U.S. Forest Service, (605) 745-7020, (605) 997-5123, 605/473-5666, 605/245-2187, 605/747-2289, 605/384-3804, 605/455-2584, 701/854-7236, (605) 673-9200, 605/698-3911, 605/964-7812, Missouri,
Region: South Dakota

Categories: Hunting > Turkey Hunting
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