Hunting and Fishing Licenses
Log in to purchase or apply for a license.
To apply for a resident license a person must:
- Have a domicile within South Dakota for at least 90 consecutive days immediately preceding the date of application for, purchasing, or attempting to purchase any hunting, fishing, or trapping license/permit. A domicile is a person’s established, fixed, and permanent home to which the person, whenever absent, has the present intention of returning, and
- Make no claim of residency in any other state or foreign country for any purpose, and
- Claim no resident hunting, fishing, or trapping privileges in any other state or foreign country, and
- Prior to any application for any license, transfer to SD the person’s driver’s license and motor vehicle registrations application for any license, transfer to SD the person's driver's license and motor vehicle registrations.
Execptions, the following persons are eligible for resident licenses:
- Any person who previously had a domicile in SD who is absent due to business of the United States or SD, or is serving in the armed forces of the US, or the spouse of an active duty military person;
- Any person who previously had a domicile in SD who is absent due to the person's regular attendance at a post-high school institution as a fulltime student;
- Any person in the active military of the US or that person's spouse who is continuously stationed in SD;
- Any person who is a patient in any war veterans' hospital within SD;
- Any person who is an employee of the veterans' administration or any veterans' hospital in SD;
- Any person residing on restricted military reservations in SD;
- Any person attending regularly a post-high school institution in SD as a full-time student for 30 days or more immediately preceding the application;
- Any foreign exchange student over 16 years of age attending a public or private high school who has resided in the state for 30 days or more preceding the application;
- Any foreign exchange student who is between the ages of 12 and 16 who has completed the GFP course of instruction in the safe handling of firearms and has been issued a certificate of competency upon completion of instruction and who has resided in SD for 30 days or more preceding application for a license;
- Any person who is a minor dependent of a resident of SD
Termination of Residency
- A person (other than a person who fits into one of the previous exceptions) is deemed to have terminated their South Dakota resident hunting, fishing, and trapping status if the person does any of the following:
- Applies for, purchases, or accepts a resident hunting, fishing, or trapping license issued by another state or foreign country;
- Registers to vote in another state or foreign country;
- Accepts a driver's license issued by another state or foreign country; or
- Moves to any other state or foreign country and makes it the person's domicile or makes any claim of residency for any purpose in the other state or foreign country.
- However, a person who has lawfully acquired a resident hunting, fishing, or trapping license and who leaves the state after acquiring the license to take up residency elsewhere may continue to exercise all the privileges granted by the license until the license expires if the person's respective privileges are not revoked or suspended.
If you would like to apply for a limited draw license with a group of people, you may do that during the online application process. Either all of the group members will be successful for a license or none of them will. No more than six applicants may be submitted in the same group (excluding elk, big horn sheep, and some limited access permits). All members of the group will be given the lowest number of preference points represented within the entire group.
To create a group:
- The individual submitting the initial application will be provided a group number after the application is submitted. This group number will appear on the confirmation receipt that may be printed. It also appears in the confirmation email sent to the applicant and is also available by selecting the “More Info” button under the Limited Draw Applications & Award section of the group leaders profile.
- An applicant allows additional hunters to join the group by providing the group number to them.
- Group Applications with matching first and second choices, submitted in the same group, will be treated as a group application. All applicants will either be successful or unsuccessful in the drawings.
- No more than six applications may be submitted in the same group(excluding elk, big horn sheep, and some limited access permits).
- Applicants with preference points should be aware when applying with applicants with fewer preference points: Doing so gives all applicants the lowest preference point balance represented within the entire group.
- Residents and nonresidents may apply together in the same group. Either all in the group will be successful or all will be unsuccessful. This is valid only in seasons and units where both resident and nonresident licenses are available for a specific drawing. It should be noted that in most instances, residents who apply with nonresidents will have a diminished chance of drawing a first-choice license.
- Residents and nonresidents must be 12 years old by Dec. 31 to hunt.
- Residents under age 16 must successfully complete a HuntSAFE course.
- Nonresidents under age 16 must include the certificate number from their hunter safety card, or a current or previous hunting license issued to them from any state.
Resident Landowner Preference
- Half the resident permits for this season are set aside in the first drawing for residents who qualify for landowner preference.
- To be eligible for landowner preference, a landowner or tenant must operate at least 160 acres of private land within the unit applied for as first choice.
- "Operate" means: to lease or hold fee title to farm or ranch real property and be directly involved in the management decisions made for agricultural purposes on the farm or ranch.
- "Agricultural purposes" includes the producing, raising, growing, or harvesting of food or fiber upon agricultural land, including dairy products, livestock, crops, timber, and grasslands.
- Land leased solely for hunting, fishing or trapping does not qualify for landowner preference.
- A landowner or tenant, but not both, may claim landowner preference for the same qualifying property.
- Immediate family members are eligible, and include the applicant's spouse and the applicant's children residing with the applicant or on land owned or leased by the resident farmer or rancher.
- Employment on a farm or ranch alone does not qualify an individual for landowner preference.
- Shareholders of a corporation, members of a limited liability company holding a membership interest in the company, partners in a partnership, and beneficiaries of a trust entitled to the current income and assets held in trust; all organized and in good standing under the laws of South Dakota are eligible for landowner preference if:
- The entity holds title to 160 acres or more of private land located within the hunting unit applied for;
- The shareholder, member, partner, or trust beneficiary applying for landowner preference is a resident; and
- The shareholder, member, partner, or trust beneficiary has responsibility for making the day-to-day management decisions for agricultural purposes on the farm or ranch.
- Nonresident landowners do not qualify for this preference.
Payment for applications submitted online must be made with a valid credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express). Your credit card will not be charged until you are either, 1) successful in the drawing, or 2) unsuccessful in the drawing but elected to receive a preference point.
Nonpayment in the form of a cancelled credit card will result in your license being withheld and the blocking of any future license purchases until the unpaid fee, along with any penalties, is paid in full.