Hunting Licenses and Publications

Of all the considerations and preparations when planning a hunting trip, licensing is sure to be one of the first concerns. South Dakota has an online purchasing option for general licenses, and some types of licenses can be purchased over the counter when you arrive in the state.  Read on for more specific licensing information.

Small Game Hunting Licenses (ie: Pheasant, Grouse, Dove, Quail)

General licensing is made simple by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks with its hunting license online application system. This system is open to US or Canadian residents over the age of 16 who have access to a credit card and printer.

US citizens must have a valid Social Security Number (not required for Canadians), and parents may purchase youth permits for their children, although they will need to provide their own ID information in addition to their child’s. IDs must be a Driver’s License or State-Issued ID, or in the case of a child (hunters under the age of 16), their Hunter Safety Certificate.

Youths who are only purchasing a fishing license and do not intend to hunt (and do not have a Hunter Safety Certificate), will need to use their birthdate and initials to obtain a license.

If you’d rather purchase your license in person, or need to show residency through physical documentation (like a Residency Declaration for Student and Military Personnel) you’ll want to locate a hunting and fishing license agent, located throughout the state. These licenses are general hunting/fishing licenses, and are not for big game.

Licensing fees vary, and a list of fees is published by the South Dakota State Game, Fish, and Parks Department.

Big Game and Waterfowl Licenses (ie: Deer, Antelope, Elk)

Big game and non-resident fall waterfowl licenses are issued by the State of South Dakota via application and lottery. Once the lottery is complete, winners are mailed their tag/license. Paper copies of the application can also be obtained from license agents and Game, Fish, and Parks offices. Applications are not accepted until after January 1st, and applications are available for different animals at different times.

If you put your name in and don’t obtain a license through the lottery, you can still check the Game, Fish, and Park’s and see if you can get a license that has not been claimed. License fees for big game, turkey, and waterfowl vary.

Tribal Lands Hunting Licenses

South Dakota’s Indian Reservations offer picturesque hunting opportunities with ample game opportunities.  Each tribe manages hunting on its own lands, including regulations and licenses.

State hunting licenses are valid on private, deeded lands on the exterior of Indian Reservations, but are not valid on tribal trust lands, unless authorized by a trival council.  Licenses and information on hunting on tribal lands are available through the various tribal offices:

  • Lower Brule – 605-473-5561
  • Pine Ridge – 605-867-5821
  • Rosebud – 605-747-2381
  • Cheyenne River – 605-964-4155
  • Standing Rock – 605-854-8500 ext. 186
  • Yankton – 605-384-3641
  • Sisseton-Wahpeton – 605-698-3911
  • Crow Creek – 605-245-2221
  • Flandreau Santee – 605-997-3512


South Dakota’s Game, Fish, and Parks department puts out a number of publications that are useful to hunters and fishermen. To request hunting and fishing information you can do so by visiting their hunting and fishing publications page.

Adventure Awaits: Top Things to Do in Sturgis, South Dakota

Adventure Awaits: Top Things to Do in Sturgis, South Dakota

Rev Up Your Engines: Sturgis Rally and Beyond The Legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is not just an event; it's a pilgrimage for riders from around the globe. Held annually in the first full week of August, this rally transforms the quiet...

The History of the Badlands in South Dakota

The History of the Badlands in South Dakota

The Badlands of South Dakota are a testament to the intricate dance between the earth's geological processes and the passage of time. This article delves into the rich tapestry that makes up the Badlands, from its awe-inspiring geological formations and diverse...

Great Faces. Great Places.

South Dakota is an incredibly unique state in that each region offers a completely different experience then the others. Check out each of the regions to see what each has to offer!


Western South Dakota

Featuring the Black Hills, Badlands, the Sturgis Rally. This region tends to be the most popular.


This region of South Dakota offers some of the best hunting and fishing in the entire central US. 

Eastern Region

The eastern region is home to the largest city in the state and provides visitors with a true "prairie" experience.