PIERRE, S.D. – Last week, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission voted to approve the deer license allocation proposal with no changes.

The most significant change from how the drawings are structured today is that drawings for East River, West River, Black Hills and Muzzleloader deer seasons will be combined in the first and second drawings. In the first draw, applicants will have to choose between one of the four seasons. Special buck, Custer State Park and Refuge deer hunting seasons will remain unchanged from the current draw structure.

“This was not an easy decision to make. The tough topics and conversations don’t come without discomfort or change,” stated Russell Olson, GFP Commissioner from Wentworth. “Good policy leaders seek change and look for ways to make South Dakota better. South Dakota has, and will continue to have more deer hunting opportunity than just about any other state in the Midwest. We will be watching this closely and if the new system isn’t doing what it’s designed to do, we will make changes.”

Changes that will be effective for the 2019 deer hunting seasons include:

1. Remove Special Buck, Custer State Park and Refuge Deer from the combined deer drawing.

These seasons will remain separate drawings.
Hunters still have to choose among licenses available for East River, West River Black Hills and Muzzleloader in the first draw, both first and second choices.

2. In the second draw, an applicant may only apply for a license if the applicant did not draw a license in the first draw.

3. In the third draw, the four seasons will no longer be drawn together and a resident will submit one application for each season they do not have a license for.

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