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Prairie Dogs

  • Season: open year-round, except in the Conata Basin and several other areas within the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. Please contact the US Forest Service for additional information regarding specific closure locations at 605.279.2125.
  • Limit: Unrestricted
  • Shooting Hours: Unrestricted
  • No restriction on caliber of rifles and/or handguns

prairie dogs in south dakota

The Wild Mammals of South Dakota book shows the distribution or prairie dogs over most of the western two-thirds of the state. The population is considered stable in the state, and in fact prairie dog control measures are actively taken to assist damage the animals cause on some private land.

In other parts of the country, prairie dogs home range has decreased. The US Fish and Wildlife Service considered a petition to list them as a federal threatened species in the late 1990s. South Dakota is one of eleven states that has worked cooperatively to develop management programs to help avoid the need to list the black-tailed prairie dog as a federal threatened species. In August 2004, the black-tailed prairie dog was removed from federal candidate list, due to results of surveys that better described the extent of the species' range and commitments by state, tribal, federal, and private entities to continue to work cooperatively on this issue.

Prairie Dog Distribution

South Dakota Black-tailed Prairie Dog Colony Acreage and Distribution

Map of Prairie Dog Colonies in South Dakota by Land Ownership

National Grasslands

National Grassland areas in western South Dakota, managed by the US Forest Service, are popular hunting destinations. Please contact these grassland offices for information on travel restrictions. The Buffalo Gap National Grasslands can be reached at 605.279.2125.

Tribal Lands

Native American Tribal lands host some of the state's best prairie dog hunting opportunities. State licenses are not valid on tribal trust lands, unless authorized by the tribal council. 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.

Not all the land inside the South Dakota reservations is under tribal jurisdiction. If you hunt on private land deeded to non-Indians you must have a state license.