Trophy Bison Hunt
The hunt is a management tool to remove the oldest breeding bulls from of the herd. These bulls are typically 10+ years old. After the summer rut, these bulls leave the herd and winter by themselves or in small groups throughout the park. The bulls are Boone & Crocket eligible. Entries in the Boone & Crocket records are shown as "Custer County, SD." A typical bull will weigh about 2,000 pounds.
Hunters have a maximum of three consecutive days to hunt. The season begins late November and closes mid January.
Hunts are scheduled Monday through Friday excluding holidays. Hunts begin on Mondays and Wednesdays. Hunters are alotted three days. Typically the hunt is completed in two days.
South Dakota Administrative Rule requires the hunter to be guided during this three-day hunt.
The park provides a guide, field transportation for the hunt, and field handling of the animal. The guide indicates which bulls are eligible, and approve the location that they may be shot.
This is a firearm only hunt. Rifles must be at least .270 caliber and generate a minimum of 2,200-foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
Typical shot distance is 50-100 yards.
Custer State Park
- Custer State Park Resorts, 888.875.0001
- Camping reservations can be made by calling 800.710.2267 or by visiting www.campsd.com.
Outside the park
- Custer (15 miles from park headquarters)
- Hill City (25 miles from park headquarters)
- Hot Springs (35 miles from park headquarters)
- Rapid City (30 miles from park headquarters)
Several changes have been made to the bison hunts since 2012.
$5,000 - Only successful applicants will be charged.
Download Information Sheet
Successful applicants will be contacted following the drawing date to schedule their hunt.
8 licenses will be available.
2 trophy bull licenses are allocated to a resident-only draw.
Any leftovers after the first draw will be available in a second draw to all applicants.
Standard South Dakota big game regulations apply. Minimum age is 12 with hunter safety certificate.
Guests / Groups
One guest may accompany the hunter. We do not allow party applications for the trophy hunt.
Permits are available to both South Dakota residents and non-residents.
New for 2013, Preference will begin to accumulate with the 2013 draw. The drawing will then be a weighted preference drawing in following years. Applicants may apply for preference only.
Local taxidermists are available to prepare a cape for shipping or for complete service in mounting the animal. Contact them early!
Bulls will range from 1,600 pounds to 2,500 pounds, averaging 1,900 pounds.
The meat, hide and head are all the property of the hunter.
Typically the bison will dress 50% from live weight to hot hanging weight. From hot hanging carcass to boneless packaged meat will be 60% of carcass.
Example: 2,000 pound live weight will dress 1,000 pounds hot hanging carcass. From 1,000 pound carcass to boneless packaged meat will be 600 pounds. These numbers are approximate, it depends on the field handling, shot placement and how much trimming must be done.