Tribal Relations

In partnership with the state’s tribal governments, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) has worked to improve management, protection and conservation of shared tribal-state natural resources. The South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations has also been a key partner in this effort.

To provide guidance and partnership on shared natural resources across the state, the state has engaged in Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with four tribes to date; Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Rosebud Rioux Tribe. These MOU documents can be found at the bottom of the page.

With land base encompassing approximately six million acres, it is paramount to continue partnerships with the nine tribal governments to foster improved habitat and quality hunting and fishing opportunities for future generations.

Memorandums of Understanding (MOU)

The purpose of the MOU’s is to formalize cooperative efforts with the tribes regarding the management of vital natural resources, where we have mutual interests. Collaborative operations between the parties may include; sharing wildlife surveys, big/small game harvest information, developing season recommendations, fishery resource management, predator control and law enforcement assistance when requested.

Elk and Deer Food Plots

The creation of deer and elk habitat plots were established on the Iron Shell Flats area of the Rosebud Indian Reservation. This cooperative effort is designed to reduce depredation on nearby private lands and to encourage elk and deer to utilize new habitat areas. Several food plots were planted with corn, sorghum, oats and alfalfa. The total cost of the seed was approximately $2,200 and was paid for by GFP.

Wild Turkey Transplants

Wild turkeys were transplanted from the Black Hills area to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in 2016. This effort continues with plans to stock turkeys on the Rosebud and Lower Brule Indian Reservations. Turkey hunting on these reservations provides significant opportunities to both tribal and non-tribal members.

Animal Damage Control Training

GFP hosted an Animal Damage Control training session developed specifically for tribal staff at the Outdoor Campus in Rapid City in 2016. Twenty-two individuals representing five South Dakota tribal natural resource departments attended the training session. Later that year, another trapping training focused on the detection of field violations, with several tribal conservation officers and resource managers in attendance.

Coyote depredation issues and illegal hunting cases on Oglala have also been brought to, and resolved by the department. 


A proposed boat landing in the South Iron Nation area of Lower Brule was initiated and a fishery evaluation on Flandreau Pond has been conducted along with the establishment of a Kids Fishing Derby with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe on the Big Sioux River in the Flandreau City Park. During the first fishing derby event, GFP provided archery and BB gun equipment along with targets.

The department also partnered with the Yankton Fish and Wildlife Department on revising their wildlife code and working on issues that include conducting fish surveys on several ponds and stocking fish where appropriate.