SM Link


For specific elk season information, select a season:


Elk are found primarily in the Black Hills; however, limited herds occupy prairie landscapes in Fall River, Meade, Butte, Bennett and Gregory counties. South Dakota's present-day elk herd, residing in the Black Hills, consists of over 6,000 Rocky Mountain elk. Only South Dakota residents are eligible to apply for and receive an elk license in South Dakota.

Options for hunters include firearm and archery seasons both inside Custer State Park, and seasons in the Black Hills area outside the park. In addition, there are other areas outside the Black Hills where elk hunting opportunity exists.

The application process for the elk seasons opens in mid-April with a late May deadline.

You may apply for any and all seasons for which you are eligible; however for equitable distribution of licenses you will be limited to one elk license for the year. Licenses are drawn in sequence from season to season.

Custer State Park Elk Management

A proposal from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission would increase the number of licenses available for a special Custer State Park antlerless elk hunting season from 20 to 60. The proposal would also establish a new antlerless elk hunting unit for these additional antlerless elk licenses which allows GFP department officials to use adaptive management to learn more about the chronic wasting disease (CWD) infection rate of elk inside the park. Learn more













Drawing Sequence

The first drawing will be for all eligible applicants. See "License Eligibility" under each season section in the following application instructions. Only one choice may be made per season in the first drawing. You can apply for a second choice in the second drawing. Preference only applies to the first drawing. If you draw your first choice on the first drawing, you will lose eligibility for the specified duration in future years.


First Elk Drawing:

Second Elk Drawing (if required):
Third Elk Drawing (if required):