South Dakota hunting research is now live on Insider!

Start planning your next hunt today

Dave Barnett

Just last month we announced the addition of North Dakota to our Insider platform and this month we are happy to announce that South Dakota is now live! It took a lot of work to bring South Dakota to everyone — from analyzing the drawing process to researching hunting opportunities — and we are excited for our members to begin researching hunts.

Nonresidents will find hunting opportunities for deer and antelope while residents can apply for those along with elk and bighorn sheep!

If you're an Insider, you automatically have access to all research data for South Dakota. If not, you can learn more about Insider below:

Join Insider here

Why Nonresidents Should Have South Dakota on Their Radar

South Dakota doesn’t offer a wide array of variety when it comes to nonresident hunts, but it does offer some good opportunities with both the deer and antelope licenses. An over-the-counter (OTC) archery license is available for both deer and antelope, but nonresidents may only hunt private lands with this license type. New for 2023: there is now a limited archery license that allows nonresidents to also hunt public lands, but these must be drawn. With this license, public lands are not open to hunting until after Oct. 1, however, private lands can be hunted earlier. A rifle license is available, but must be drawn through the public lottery.

Species and Seasons

South Dakota offers hunting opportunities for several big game species, including deer, elk, antelope and bighorn sheep.

Deer

Both mule deer and whitetail deer can be hunted in South Dakota and hunters will find several season options for these species when applying. As mentioned earlier, archery licenses are available OTC; however, nonresidents with this hunt can only hunt private lands. There is an archery license available through the drawing that allows hunting on public lands. Muzzleloader and rifle hunting licenses are issued only through the drawing.

The deer draw utilizes preference points, but conducts the draw with these points in more of a traditional bonus point system. With the drawing, points are cubed and the more points you hold, the higher chance you have of drawing.

Elk

Elk hunting is an opportunity that is only available to residents. There are licenses available for any elk and antlerless elk license. Hopeful applicants will be able to apply for archery or rifle licenses that are valid for any elk or for antlerless elk only.

The elk draw uses preference points to allocate tags to specific point groups, but also utilizes a modified bonus point system to draw tags among the point groups. Applicants are first sorted into three groups: 0+ preference pool, 2+ preference pool, and the 10+ preference pool. Each pool has a set amount of tags allocated to the group and a random draw using cubed preference points is used to distribute these tags. As an example, a specific hunt may have 10 tags allocated to the 10+ preference pool. Within this pool, perhaps there are 50 applicants. The state will conduct a drawing among these 50 applicants until the 10 tags have been drawn. Now, the 40 remaining applicants will move to the next preference pool (2+) and the state will conduct another drawing for those licenses.

Antelope

As mentioned earlier, archery licenses are available OTC; however, only private lands are available for nonresidents to hunt, which means you should obtain landowner permission ahead of time. There is an archery license offered through the draw that allows hunting on public lands. Muzzleloader and rifle hunting licenses are issued only through the drawing.

The antelope draw utilizes preference points, but conducts the draw with these points in more of a traditional bonus point system. With the drawing, points are cubed and the more points you hold, the higher chance you have of drawing.

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Very limited opportunities are offered for bighorn sheep and these are only available to residents of the state.

The bighorn sheep draw works like the elk draw and uses preference points to allocate tags to specific point groups, but also utilizes a modified bonus point system to draw tags among the point groups. Applicants are first sorted into three groups: 0+ preference pool, 2+ preference pool and the 10+ preference pool. Each pool has a set number of tags allocated to the group and a random draw using cubed preference points is used to distribute these tags. For example, a specific hunt may have 10 tags allocated to the 10+ preference pool. Within this pool, perhaps there are 50 applicants. The state will conduct a drawing among these 50 applicants until the 10 tags have been drawn. Now, the 40 remaining applicants will move to the next preference pool (2+) and the state will conduct another drawing for those licenses.

What’s Included with the Launch

With the launch of South Dakota, Insiders will have access to all of the typical great Insider research information.

Like our other states, you’ll have Filtering 2.0 to decide where to apply and hunt with filters for trophy potential, draw odds, harvest success, weapon type, season dates and much, much more.

Once you've gotten that portion of your research nailed down, you will be prepared to jump into our standalone Draw Odds page for even more detailed draw odds data.

For even more information, you can also jump into detailed unit profiles, state or species profiles to learn even more!

We will also be releasing supplement articles in the near future, detailing more of the specifics of hunting opportunities throughout the state.

Draw Odds for South Dakota?

As always, our data science team was hard at work making sure that our South Dakota draw odds meet the same rigorous standards as all of our other states.

If you just want to view draw odds, you can quickly navigate to our standalone Draw Odds page and select South Dakota to see detailed draw odds for each unit. Note: Draw odds are also available on Filtering 2.0 and on each Unit Profile.

Not an Insider?

Insider makes it easy to find tag opportunities by state, species, probability of draw odds success and much more! Whether you have zero points, maximum points or any number of points for certain states, Insider gives you the information you need to plan a successful hunt. In addition to our research tools, all Insiders have access to GOHUNT Maps on the web and mobile app. It's the only complete and full package set of tools to help you find the hunt you want this year or to help you plan for hunts in the future.

If you're unfamiliar with Insider, you can learn more below.

Join Insider here

insider Membership

Our top tier membership gives you everything we offer! Research tool, maps, and gear shop rewards, all in one plan.

insider
explorer
rewards