Opening weekend begins for deer hunting

RAPID CITY, S.D. — South Dakota’s Game Fish and Parks has sold thousands of deer hunting licenses this year, completely selling out of the basic deer hunting license.

South Dakota has always been a popular destination for hunting. According to Keith Wintersteen, GF&P naturalist, the Black Hills plays a large role in the state’s hunting.

“We’re relatively accessible compared to some other national forests in the western United States,” Wintersteen said.

GF&P officials recommend hunting in the middle of November, right at the peak of mating season. This will increase the chances to see more deer, as more will be out in broad daylight.

Hunting serves many purposes, of course. Hunting brings people together socially, allows for a bit of competition, and of course allows hunters to bring in plenty of food. Wintersteen says hunters appreciate venison as “a source of free-range, antibiotic free protein.”

The state offers a variety of licenses on the GF&P website. While hunting can be done with a variety of weapons in the Hills, many prefer to use firearms.

“Traditional woods hunters will use a lever action 30-30 with open sights, iron sights,” Wintersteen says. “We’ll also get the other end of the spectrum — people that have $2-5,000 worth of rifle and telescopic sights on.”

And if a mountain lion sighting has ever been a concern, Wintersteen says that the cats aren’t nearly as big of a threat as they may seem.

“If you’re hunting in the Black Hills, sooner or later a mountain lion is going to see you. They want nothing to do with you, they’re curious, they’re very similar to house cats. They’ll kind of just sit and look at you but for the most part they want nothing to do with you and they’ll just run off and you’ll never even know that they’re there.”


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