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South Dakota’s Deer Population is on the Rise

The state is considering adding over 15,000 tags for 2016 season.

The state of South Dakota continues to enjoy great success when it comes to deer hunting. One of the Midwest’s best kept deer hunting secrets, the state is considering adding around 16,000 tags for the 2016 deer season. According to the Game, Fish, and Parks Commission, the population of deer in the state has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years.

Beginning in 2010, South Dakota experienced a series of very harsh winters that took a toll on deer population. Since then, according to Senior Game Biologist Andy Lindbloom, “We’ve had some very nice, mild winters that we think equate to good news for our deer populations.” As reported by the Capital Journal, survival rates of both fawns and juvenile deer were over 70%, while the adult doe survival rate in 2015 pushed upwards towards almost 90 percent.

With the rising population, the Game, Fish, and Parks commission has decided to increase the number of tags available to both the East River and West River regions. Hunters East of the Missouri River, where the population is primarily whitetail, will see the largest increase in tag counts. East River tag quantities would grow by a whopping 10,130. Of these tags, 330 would be buck tags and the remaining 9,800 would be doe tags.

West River hunters will also see additional tags available, growing by approximately 4 percent to 16,480 total tags. West River includes a variety of whitetail and mule deer hunting. Residents would be able to apply for 14,345 one-tag licenses and 5,420 two-tag licenses.

Non-residents will also see added availability for tags in the state. Non-resident West River hunters, for example, will have over 1,500 total tags available; 1,151 one-tag licenses, and 434 two-tag licenses. Coveted Black Hills tags would also increase by a quantity of 400 for residents and an additional 32 available tags for non-residents.

Applications for South Dakota deer tags open in June. For more information, visit the Game, Fish, and Parks website.


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South Dakota’s Deer Population is on the Rise