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.
Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal brain disease of deer, elk and moose. In South Dakota, CWD has been detected in Lawrence, Pennington, Custer and Fall River Counties, Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park. More information about CWD can be found here and a map of approved big game carcass disposal sites is also available at the bottom of the page under "Related Maps".