GFP Holds May Commission Meeting

May 3, 2024

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Park (GFP) Commission held their May meeting May 2-3 at the Event Barn in Custer State Park.

Wildlife Proposals

Landowner Own Land Prairie Antlerless Elk Hunting License

During the 2024 South Dakota Legislative session, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 173, an act to provide a landowner own land elk license for antlerless elk in the prairie elk season.

The Commission continued discussion to create such a license within the Prairie Elk Season with the following qualifications:

  • An applicant must own/lease a minimum of 240 acres within an elk unit.
  • Members of the qualifying landowner-operators family including grandparents, parents, spouse, children, children's spouse, or grandchildren who live on the ranch or in the closest community and have an active role in the ranch operation also qualify.
  • Only one qualifying applicant per ranch unit per year may purchase a landowner own land license.
  • A qualifying applicant for a ranch unit may not purchase a landowner own land elk license if any qualifying member of the ranch unit holds an elk license in the prairie elk hunting season.
  • A ranch unit is described as all private property owned and leased for agricultural purposes by written agreement by and individual qualifying landowner in the state; and,
  • A ranch unit may not by subdivided for the purposes of qualifying for more than one landowner own land elk license.

Raccoon Hunting Season

The Commission continued discussions to allow nonresidents to use dogs, statewide, as an aid in the taking of a raccoon within the specified nonresident raccoon season structure.

Elk Raffle License

The Commission proposed to do away with language restricting someone who had previously held a Custer State Park elk license from winning this raffle.

Antelope Hunting Season 

The Commission proposed the 2024 and 2025 Firearms Antelope Hunting Seasons for the following dates:

Sept 28-Oct. 13, 2024

Oct 4 – Oct 19, 2025.

The proposal allows an individual that applies for a “special antelope” license to apply for an antelope license in the second lottery drawing instead of the third drawing as previously allowed.

The proposal also had minor unit boundary adjustments for Butte County and the Stanley and Jones County portions of the Ft. Pierre National Grasslands.

The proposal also specifies that the mentored youth antelope licenses are only valid on private land that is not leased by the Department for public hunting access.

License numbers for the 2024 and 2025 seasons will be proposed at the June and July meetings. 

Parks Proposals

License Entrance Fees

Senate Bill 55 was introduced by the Department during the 2024 Legislative Session and was passed and signed by the Governor. The new law amended SDCL 41-17-13 to eliminate the option to purchase a discounted second annual park entrance license through the stub/coupon method and eliminated the ability to buy multiple discounted annuals through common vehicle registration.   

The Commission proposed to eliminate the stub/coupon method of discounted park entrance licenses and multiple discounted annual process using vehicle registrations.

The proposal would formalize the availability of a double license option (one full price license and one-half price license when purchased together). There are no limits on how many double licenses may be purchased.   

Wildlife Finalizations

Small Game Hunting Seasons

The Commission voted to extend the quail, partridge, and grouse seasons to Jan 31, aligning these seasons closing date with the close of the pheasant season.

The Commission removed the word "common" in the snipe season hunting rules, allowing for the take of all species of snipe.

The Commission extended the tree squirrel and cottontail rabbit hunting seasons to run from Sept. 1 - March 31 on publicly accessible land.

Custer State Park Coyote Hunting Season

The Commission extended the Custer State Park Coyote Hunting Season to start November 1 and continue through April 30.

The Commission action will also allow coyote hunting throughout the day and night.

Custer State Park Bison Hunting Seasons

The Commission voted to allow the use of archery equipment during the Custer State Park trophy and non-trophy bison harvest season.

The Commission also decreased the allowable hunting days for trophy bison from three to two. Hunters typically fill their tags within two days, and this change will allow increased opportunity for scheduling hunts.

The Commission increased the number of trophy bison licenses available from eight license to 10 and non-trophy bison licenses from 15 to 20, resulting in a total of 11 trophy bison licenses, including the one license available through the Hunt for Habitat raffle.

Public Comment Opportunity and Upcoming Meeting

To hear the discussion on any of the topics on the agenda, audio from the meeting is available through South Dakota Public Broadcasting and will soon be available on the GFP website as part of the meeting archive. 

To see these documents in their entirety, visit

To be included in the public record and to be considered by the Commission, public comments must include a full name and city of residence and be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT, June 2.

The next Regular Commission Meeting will be held on June 6-7, 2024, starting at 1 pm CST at the NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Center in Yankton, SD.


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