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Private Land

Tribal Reservations

State licenses are not valid on trust lands of an Indian tribe unless authorized by the tribal council. Not all land inside a South Dakota reservation is under tribal jurisdiction. If you hunt on private land deeded to non-tribal members, you must have a state license.

Individual tribes may require a tribal permit to hunt on their lands. Contact the individual tribes to find out what licenses they offer and the cost.

NOTE: Ownership of the former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation has been transferred to the respective tribes. All tribal and federal laws apply down to the water's edge. Please contact the appropriate tribal office for specific information.

Unarmed Retrieval on Private Land

Hunters may retrieve lawfully taken small game without permission from private or public land (except National Wildlife Refuges closed to such entry) if they are unarmed and retrieve on foot.

Permission is needed to retrieve big game, including turkeys.


No person may hunt or trap any species of game, including unprotected species, on private land without permission from the owner or lessee except in that part of the Black Hills Fire Protection District south of Interstate 90. In that area, no person may enter private land to hunt if the land is posted or if told by the owner or lessee not to do so.


Resident landowners and their immediate family (husband, wife, and children residing at home or on land owned or leased by the landowner) may trap furbearers and hunt their property for small game without obtaining a hunting or trapping license.

Landowners are also exempted from state licensing requirements for waterfowl hunting on their property but must purchase a Federal Waterfowl Stamp if they wish to hunt ducks, geese, swans, and mergansers. All laws and rules (Example: season dates, bag limits) pertaining to hunting and trapping must be followed.

Walk-In Areas (General Hunting Access)

Walk-In Area sign South Dakota has a rich hunting heritage; one that includes lots of game and lots of places to hunt. Since 1988, GFP has been working hard to maintain that rich heritage by providing hunting access on privately owned lands. The department does this by contracting with landowners who have CRP or other valuable wildlife habitat. The landowner opens the land to unlimited, free public hunting, which is open to foot-traffic only hunting, in exchange for a small payment and immunity from non-negligent liability. It has been a great program and currently has more than one million acres enrolled. For more information or assistance, call your local GFP contact.

Controlled Hunting Access Program (CHAP)

In 2008, the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks kicked off a new hunting access initiative, the Controlled Hunting Access Program (CHAP). CHAP is a cooperative effort between private landowners and the Game, Fish & Parks to open up additional private land to public game hunting.

Private Shooting Preserves

In 1963, the Private Shooting Preserve Act was enacted. It authorized the issuance of licenses to private shooting preserves. This permit can be issued to an individual (South Dakota residents only), co-partnership, association, or corporation owning, holding or controlling by lease or otherwise any contiguous tract of land (must touch at the corners or sides) of at least 160 and not to exceed 2,560 acres.

Waterfowl and other game species not listed on the preserve permit may be hunted within the preserve, but ONLY with the appropriate licenses and during legal seasons, according to state laws and regulations.

Throughout the entire preserve season, shooting preserve kill tags must be placed around the leg or neck of all birds (RELEASED and WILD) that are harvested on a preserve, even during the normal state season. Any birds harvested on non-preserve land are not to be tagged.

Elk Access Program

SD GFP has signed lease agreements with ranchers around Wind Cave National Park to provide public elk hunting access. These leases are paid for with money from the sale of hunting licenses. In order to insure the most successful harvest of elk on these lands, reservations are taken on a first come, first serve basis. If you draw an elk license for the southern black hills and would like to hunt one of these areas, please call the Rapid City Regional GFP office at 605-394-2391 for more information.