South Dakota Basics

MaxPower

Active member
Joined
Jan 26, 2013
Messages
147
Location
Wyoming
Hi All,

My brother moved to Rapid City last year and just hit his 1 year mark, officially a resident. He's already finished Hunter Ed, so now we're in the process of finding a deer unit for him. He's never hunted, but has wanted to for a few years now and is excited to finally have the chance.

I'm next door in Wyoming and plan on heading up and helping him if he gets a tag. I told him the best way is to make a friend/contact at work and try to get permission on someones land - even if it's just a doe. If we can do this that makes the decision for which area.

If he can't, what's an easy area to draw in the West River region? It looks like the Black Hills is tough to draw, so anything close to Rapid like 15A or 49A for a doe would be ideal.

Honestly, if we get a chance to go out hunting together I'm happy with that. Just having a tag as an excuse is great.

Thoughts?
 

grizzly63

Active member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
174
Well, South Dakota is a preference point system and most of the good tags require points. So, there are not many "got it the first year tags" for "any deer". Drawing an anterless in the Hills should be easy. Forget about deer for a minute and apply for any and all elk tags. That application window closes this week if I remember right. They will only let you have one. The purpose is to build points so maybe one day? Used to be you could stand a chance on second draw anterless elk tags but many people are tired of waiting for an any tag and are cashing in all their preference for an anterless tag. Probably better odds of that in Wyoming though. If you go to the GFP website and do a little looking, you can find "draw statistics". That will give you most of your answers. IF a unit has a lot of leftover tags, its probably all private and could be heavily commercialized. Dont pass up the walk in areas or larger public areas. Most areas I hunt take at least one prefence point to draw. There are some pretty interesting places to hunt in this state with a variety of habitats. Personally, I try to work the prefence points so that I stand a chance of drawing at least one preferred tag. This is the third year of a newer drawing system so expect changes next year. You could apply for an antelope tag? Good luck!
 

MaxPower

Active member
Joined
Jan 26, 2013
Messages
147
Location
Wyoming
Well, South Dakota is a preference point system and most of the good tags require points. So, there are not many "got it the first year tags" for "any deer". Drawing an anterless in the Hills should be easy. Forget about deer for a minute and apply for any and all elk tags. That application window closes this week if I remember right. They will only let you have one. The purpose is to build points so maybe one day? Used to be you could stand a chance on second draw anterless elk tags but many people are tired of waiting for an any tag and are cashing in all their preference for an anterless tag. Probably better odds of that in Wyoming though. If you go to the GFP website and do a little looking, you can find "draw statistics". That will give you most of your answers. IF a unit has a lot of leftover tags, its probably all private and could be heavily commercialized. Dont pass up the walk in areas or larger public areas. Most areas I hunt take at least one prefence point to draw. There are some pretty interesting places to hunt in this state with a variety of habitats. Personally, I try to work the prefence points so that I stand a chance of drawing at least one preferred tag. This is the third year of a newer drawing system so expect changes next year. You could apply for an antelope tag? Good luck!
Thank you much. I'll have him apply for elk and antelope.

As for deer, if getting a doe tag in the black hills is easy I may just have him do that since it'd be a fun hunt for us.
 

blackbeard

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
35
Location
South Dakota
Antlerless whitetail in the hills in fairly easy to draw. Any deer in the hills takes about 10 years, took me 5 years to draw 27L any deer. He may qualify for a apprentice tag.
 

ZBB

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
370
Location
Colorado
Antlerless whitetail doe tags are “otc” too for muzzleloader. Which is in December. I use “” because you don’t go to the store and buy them, like the archery tags you go through the application and it gets sent to you, Usually takes a couple days. A couple years ago I picked up a leftover whitetail tag in 49a, honestly it wasn’t worth it. There isn’t a lot of public and of the public there is it didn’t seem to hold any deer. I’m not saying you couldn’t get lucky and catch something wondering through but it definitely wouldn’t be in my top choices. The whitetail tags are easier to draw. I’ve seen some nice mule deer in the hills but not enough of them to wait the 10 or so years to get a tag. I think grizzly63 is right there are people jumping ship to burn elk points on cow tags. Before I moved I burned 9 on one. I had 15 before I drew my archery tag a couple years ago, and I quit applying in CSP, between the archery and rifle any elk tags and cow tags there I think I let 25 or so points go. It’s a fun state to hunt, and honestly I wish I’d never moved. Just need to do some digging on the game and fish website. Or the app it has a lot of the info too.
 

ZBB

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
370
Location
Colorado
It’s not a straight preference point system. I said 10 or so, I generalized. The other info I said was from my experience. IMO any deer tags are a crap shoot with points. This is black hills any deer. D780F075-FCDC-40CC-9575-BD7C7E386F3B.png
 

grizzly63

Active member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
174
I drew the BH any deer twice, once with three points early after the change when there were twice as many tags and once again with 6. Shot decent Muleys each time but figured my luck was running out and things were going to go down hill. The chart above shows that. I archery hunt the hills now. Not very successful but it is a beautiful place and the silence can be deafening. Cannot get away with the things you do in a more populated area full of background noise.
 

SD-Esox

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2017
Messages
51
My advice for him would to apply for a black hill any white-tail tag and also choose a west river unit to start building points. There are usually west river units with left over antler less tags if he wants to hunt this fall and drawing a left over tag does not burn your points. Dont be afraid to travel for these hunts. You can camp on national grass lands anywhere. I live in the eastern side of the state and hunt west river I usually just sleep in my vehicle on the grasslands. For food I usually bring a small propane grill and eat brats and burgers and pack stuff for cold sandwiches. Very basic setup and very low cost. I have a 20 degree sleeping bag to sleep in and have always done just fine with that. There is good hunting on the public lands just don’t be afraid to put your boots to use
 

T.R.

Member
Joined
May 21, 2021
Messages
25
I lived near Rapid City for 11 years and toppled many fine muley bucks. Best places to hunt are near "burn sites." After a forest fire, one of the plants that grows up is called mountain mahogany. Mulies prefer this plant. During November rifle season, look within shaded canyons for the freshest plants. South and east facing slopes are typically dried up and not so much in demand by mulies. But when the temp drops into the teens and below, mulies prefer to sleep upon south and east facing slopes.

My average shooting distance was about 125 yards for Black Hills hunts. Just about any rifle cartridge will do the job and I had very good luck with my Marlin 30-30 carbine; my eldest daughter hunted with a Remington in .243. Mule deer are not armor-plated!

TR
 

WiscoDak

New member
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
7
My advice for him would to apply for a black hill any white-tail tag and also choose a west river unit to start building points. There are usually west river units with left over antler less tags if he wants to hunt this fall and drawing a left over tag does not burn your points. Dont be afraid to travel for these hunts. You can camp on national grass lands anywhere. I live in the eastern side of the state and hunt west river I usually just sleep in my vehicle on the grasslands. For food I usually bring a small propane grill and eat brats and burgers and pack stuff for cold sandwiches. Very basic setup and very low cost. I have a 20 degree sleeping bag to sleep in and have always done just fine with that. There is good hunting on the public lands just don’t be afraid to put your boots to use
This is good advice. The late season muzzeloader hunt for does in the hills is a lot of fun as well.
 

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