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More Pronghorns Means More Hunting Opportunities in South Dakota

Since the pronghorn antelope population is slowly but surely increasing in South Dakota, officials have decided to significantly increase hunting licenses.

South Dakota’s Game Fish and Parks Commission estimates the state’s current pronghorn antelope population to be around 48,000 animals. This is short of the state’s projected goal of 68,000 antelope (+/- 10,000), but is a vast improvement over the dip the population took in 2013.

In 2008 the pronghorn population was 81,690 animals. By 2013 that number had dropped to just over 36,000. So, at 48,000 this year, antelope are rebounding slowly and steadily, and the state is responding by issuing more licenses. 

South Dakota will issue resident hunters over 900 more antelope buck hunting licenses and 1,400 more doe licenses in 2017 and 2018 than it did last year. Hunters also had a success rate last year that was greater than years prior, at 70 percent. 

In 2013 the firearm season success rate was 48 percent. The archery success rate at that time was around 23 percent. Both firearm and archery antelope success rates have risen steadily, along with the population, since that low point year in the pronghorn population.

The 2017 antelope firearms season application deadline is August 11, and the season runs from September 30 to October 15. The 2017 archery season runs from August 19 to September 29 and again from October 16-31. There is no deadline for an archery antelope application.

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More Pronghorns Means More Hunting Opportunities in South Dakota