As of Jan. 4, 2021, gray wolves in South Dakota are no longer protected by the federal endangered species act. The recent action allows South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks to manage wolves as a predator/varmint, as defined in state law. 

GFP does not have any intentions of establishing gray wolves in South Dakota.

Over the past few years, South Dakota has had a handful of gray wolves killed on both sides of the Missouri River; however, South Dakota does not have a resident gray wolf population. The gray wolves that have been killed in South Dakota are likely transient animals that have dispersed from populations in other states. 

Anyone who harvests a wolf in South Dakota is required to notify a wildlife conservation officer within 24 hours after the kill and then submit the animal for inspection by a GFP representative no later than 48 hours after the kill.

Under GFP’s management authority, trappers, sportsmen and women, landowners and livestock producers now have the ability to harvest gray wolves across the state. 


Coyote (Canis lantrans) Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)
Face Narrow and pointed; small nose pad Broad and blocky; large nose pad
Ears Taller and pointed Short and rounded
 Shoulder Height 21-24 inches 26-32 inches
Length 3.5 - 4.5 feet (nose to tail tip) 4.5-6.5 feet (nose to tail tip)
Weight 15-50 pounds 70-150 pounds
Coat Gray or reddish-brown, often grizzzled, often with whitish throat, chest and/or belly. Grizzled gray is the most common, but can also be mostly or all black; white or cream coats rare outside far northern populations.