Photo © Sam Stukel

Preference Points

Note: Preference points will be available for purchase September 15-December 15 in Go Outdoors South Dakota

Seasons with a limited number of licenses have a preference system for applicants who are unsuccessful on their first choice in the first drawing.

Some useful information on preference points in lottery drawings include the following:

  • One point may be purchased each year the applicant is unsuccessful.
  • Applicants must choose to purchase preference if unsuccessful at time of application or purchase preference in their licensing profile prior to December 15.
  • Preference points will be available for purchase September 15-December 15.
  • Accrued preference points are required to be used for any season during the first draw, first choice selection.
  • Applicants can choose to use preference for their second choice during a first drawing and for any subsequent drawing for both the first and second choice. 
  • Applicants who draw a license using preference and subsequently decide to return the license to the Licensing Office prior to the start of the applicable season, will have their preference points reinstated, be reimbursed their license fee, and maintain their eligibility for future drawings.
  • Preference points may be purchased starting at age 10 for all species, except paddlefish, where there is no minimum age.

Purchased preference points are automatically credited to an application, even if you do not apply for the applicable season the following year. 

Preference points cannot be transferred to another person. 

*Preference points for access permits can only be obtained by applying and being unsuccessful in the drawing.

Please note that many units within certain seasons are highly sought after and cannot be drawn without preference points. Some units can be drawn with one year preference, but others require two or more year’s preference. To see approximately what your chances are of drawing a license in a particular unit, you can view last year’s draw statistics.

Frequently Asked Questions
Cubed Preference Points
Drawing Procedure for Deer, Antelope and Turkey
Drawing Procedure for Elk