In the 1900s hunting seasons established by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks Commission allowed deer populations to recover from historic lows. Deer hunting seasons have occurred regularly since the 1950s, with deer hunters harvesting approximately 95,000 deer during the recent record year of 2010.
White-tailed deer and mule deer are the most highly sought after big game species in South Dakota and throughout North America. Hunting remains the number one tool for managing deer populations across South Dakota and harvest strategies are intended to ensure the well-being of the species and its habitat while maintaining populations at levels compatible with human activity and land use.
- In the second draw, a hunter may not apply for a leftover license if they possess two licenses for any of the East River/Special Buck, West River/Special Buck, Black Hills, Muzzleloader, Refuge and Custer State Park deer hunting units in the first draw. A person with one license for these seasons may submit one application for a season they currently do not possess a license.
- In the third draw, a resident hunter (even if they possess 2 licenses) may submit one application for each season they do not possess a license.
- In the fourth draw, resident hunters may submit up to five applications. Only those nonresidents without a license may apply for a license remaining in pools originally designated (8%) for nonresidents (West River, Black Hills or Refuge).
- After the fourth draw, all remaining resident and nonresident licenses would be pooled and sold first-come, first-served. There will be no limit on the number of licenses that a person can acquire