ROAD HUNTING IN SOUTH DAKOTA
Many hunters consider roadside hunting a viable alternative to hunting on public land due to the high yielding success. Pheasants, specifically, enjoy roadside ditches because of the benefits roads provide them such as excellent cover and gravel to help digestion. Therefore, you can see why hunters want to do it.
Though some hunters have grown to love the practice, residents have a growing discontent for it. From the residents’ point of view, disrespectful hunters have been known to shoot near their homes and/or near their livestock. That is not only dangerous but extremely stupid. A few bad apples can ruin a good thing for everyone and makes the practice hard to defend, but these conflicts have actually had a positive outcome as South Dakota has taken measures to make it legal but safe.
Road hunting, or rights-of-way hunting, is legal in South Dakota except during the early resident only season. State law provides buffers around farmsteads and livestock. You don’t need permission from any private landowner to road hunt unless you are within 660 feet of a school, church, occupied building or livestock. Failure to comply with these guidelines are met with serious consequences.
Big game cannot be taken on or from a road right-of-way, only small game can be taken on foot, and both the hunter and the game must be within the right of way. If the game falls onto private property, it can only be retrieved by unarmed hunters on foot.
Here is the official South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Position On Road Hunting
As of 2009/2010 Hunting Season
The South Dakota GFP is an advocate for promoting free hunting access opportunities to the general public. However, the behavior of some hunters while hunting road rights-of-way can make the practice difficult to defend. Rural residents have a legitimate basis to be critical of the behavior of some road hunters that shoot close to their homes and livestock.
GFP and the state legislature have taken action to lessen conflicts between road hunters and rural property owners. State laws providing buffers around farmsteads and livestock where hunting is prohibited are in place and are taken very seriously by state Conservation Officers. If compliance with these regulations were improved, most conflicts between rural residents and hunters that like to hunt road rights-of-way would be eliminated.
GFP will continue to support the rights of hunters to legally hunt road rights-of-way as long as state law permits the practice. In addition, GFP will continue to vehemently enforce laws intended to protect rural residents and their property from the unlawful hunting of road rights-of-way.
Learn more about SD Hunting Regulations At the GFP Website