Coyote Hunting in South Dakota: Laws

Coyote hunting in South Dakota means predator hunting in an incredible, sparsely populated state where rolling prairies provide unparalleled coyote habitat. Before you make your first coyote stand, check out these rules—and any updates!

Coyote hunting in South Dakota
Coyote hunting in South Dakota.

There is no closed season for coyote hunting in South Dakota. Hunting coyotes in South Dakota requires a hunting license. Coyote calling contests are allowed, and a bounty may be available.

Check out all the South Dakota hunting seasons.

Related: Learn the rules for hunting bobcats in South Dakota.

Related: Learn the rules for hunting fox in South Dakota.

Coyote hunting in South Dakota.

Purchase a license here:

Electronic callers. As seen in the video above, these are legal to use when hunting bobcats in Wisconsin.

While electronic callers are expensive, mouth and hand callers are cheaper but harder to use.

Read this article and watch the video to learn how to use a closed reed rabbit squealer.

Follow along as call manufacturer Brian Rush shows you three open reed calls you can learn and use today.

You can check the price for an electronic caller on Amazon.

Decoys are legal. You can read about some highly effective but inexpensive ($20) coyotes decoys here.

Can you hunt with lights? All lights, and Infrared or Thermal riflescopes are prohibited for night coyote hunting. This restriction does not apply to landowners in certain circumstances (see below).

Coyote hunting in South Dakota: License.

The Predator/Varmint License is needed to hunt coyote, wolf, red fox, grey fox, skunk, raccoon, badger, prairie dog, gopher, crow, opossum, jackrabbit, ground squirrel, porcupine and marmot. Other licenses that may be used in lieu of the Predator/Varmint License include any valid resident South Dakota hunting license or furbearer license.

For a Big Game License to be valid, the licensee must retain the top portion of the Big Game License. No license is required for resident youth under age 18.

Related: Do you know how to find a fox den? No? Then read this article.

Related: Where should you aim at a coyote to make sure it is dead right there?

Landowners rules for coyote hunting in South Dakota.

Resident landowners and their immediate family (husband, wife, and children residing at home or on land owned or leased by the landowner) may trap furbearers and hunt their property for small game (pheasant, grouse, partridge, quail, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, mourning dove, and snipe), furbearers (opossum, muskrat, beaver, mink, skunk, raccoon, badger, red fox, grey fox, coyote, wolf, bobcat, weasel, river otter, and jackrabbit)and predators/varmints (prairie dog, gopher, crow, chipmunk, ground squirrel, porcupine, and marmot) without obtaining a hunting or Furbearer License.

Related: Can you find a fox’s core area? Read this article to increase your odds during fox season.

Related: Think heavy snow ruins coyote hunting? Read this article to find out why you MUST hunt the storm!

Restrictions: Coyote hunting in South Dakota.


There are no restrictions on the caliber of rifles and/or handguns.

National Grasslands in western South Dakota, managed by the U.S. Forest Service, are popular hunting destinations. Please contact the grassland office for information on travel restrictions if this is your destination.

Native American Tribal lands also host coyote hunting opportunities. State licenses are not valid on tribal trust lands unless authorized by the tribal council. Individual tribes may require a tribal permit to hunt on their lands. Contact the individual tribes to determine what licenses they offer and the cost. Not all the land inside the South Dakota reservations is under tribal jurisdiction. If you hunt on private land deeded to non-Indians, you must have a state license.

Custer State Park Free Access Permits

  • The Custer State Park coyote hunting season is open from December 26, 2021 – to April 30, 2022.
  • Free access permits are no longer required.
  • No hunting is allowed within 200 yards of any public access road or building in Custer State Park.
  • A person must have their applicable License and Access Permit with them while hunting.
  • Hunters are responsible for leaving the property they are hunting in the same condition as they found it. 

Related: What are the best night vision scopes you can use outside South Dakota?

Related: Set up a bait pile alarm! Read this for what equipment to buy.

Questions and answers regarding South Dakota coyote hunting.

South Dakota Q&A
Q.: Who can be with a landowner spotlighting?
A: A landowner may have up to two guests when spotlighting for jackrabbits, coyotes, fox, raccoons, opossums, badgers, skunks, and rodents. The landowner must accompany the guest(s).

SPOTLIGHTING / NIGHT HUNTING – Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: What is the law regarding spotlighting?
A: Between sunset and sunrise, no person may use or possess night-vision equipment or throw or cast the rays of a spotlight, motor vehicle headlight, or other artificial light onto a highway or into any field, pasture, woodland, forest, or prairie, for spotting, locating, taking, attempting to take, or hunting any animal, if the person is in possession or control of a firearm, bow, or other implements by which an animal could be killed.

Q: What is “night-vision equipment”?
A: An electronic or battery-powered device that enhances a person’s ability to see in the dark.

Q: What is “artificial light”?
A: An artificial light or lighting device that projects lumination for an unaided eye.

Q: Are there exceptions for raccoon hunting with dogs at night?
A: Yes, residents may use a handheld light while on foot to take raccoons after being treed by dogs. No nonresident may use a dog as an aid in taking raccoons.

Part two.

Q: Are there exceptions for landowners and their guests?
A: Yes, several exceptions allow a landowner and others to hunt at night provided the restrictions found in state law on land area, weapons, age of individual, species, and accompaniment are followed.
(1) A person who owns or occupies land and up to two guests accompanying the person may use artificial light and night vision equipment on the person’s land to take jackrabbits, coyotes, beavers during its hunting season, foxes, raccoons, opossums, badgers, skunks, and rodents, provided they use:
a. A shotgun and shotshells; or
b. A firearm and a cartridge having a bullet diameter of less than .225 inches;
2) If a person who is at least 18 years of age owns or occupies land, that person may grant
permission for up to two guests to hunt unaccompanied on that person’s land for jackrabbits, coyotes, beaver during its season, foxes, raccoons, opossums, badgers, skunks, and rodents, and such guests may use night vision equipment, provided they use:
a. A shotgun and shotshells; or
b. A firearm and a cartridge having a bullet diameter of less than .225 inches.

Part three of Q &A.

Q: What about the use of lights while trapping?
A: A person may use a handheld light while on foot to engage in lawful trapping activity and take trapped fur-bearing animals.

Q: Is night hunting allowed on lands owned, leased, or managed by the Department of Game, Fish, and Parks?
A: No, the Department does not grant permission for individuals to use artificial light/night vision on GFP-owned, managed, or leased properties. It is not illegal to hunt unprotected species and predators/varmints at night using only ambient light/moonlight or for a person to use a handheld light while on foot to take raccoons after dogs have treed them.

Q: What about Walk-In Areas?
A: No, the Department leases exclusive hunting rights through a contract with the landowner and does not grant permission for individuals to use artificial light/night vision on Walk-In Areas.

Q: What about other publicly owned lands; state or federal?
A: Night hunting with the aid of artificial light or night vision is prohibited in these other areas.

Q: Can I use a spotlight or other artificial light to locate animals if I don’t have any weapons along?
A: Unless an individual qualifies under one of the exceptions as mentioned earlier, it is illegal to cast the rays of a spotlight, or any artificial light other than a motor vehicle headlight, into any field, pasture, woodland, forest, or prairie to spot or locate any wild animal between 10 p.m. and sunrise, from September 1 through January 31. Outside of these timeframes, it is permissible to use any artificial light to locate animals provided you do not possess or control a firearm, bow, or other implement by which an animal could be killed.

Related: Summer hunting coyotes? Read this for some excellent tips on hunting coyotes in the heat.

Coyote hunting in South Dakota: Accessible game areas.

Game Production Areas (GPAs) enhanced for accessibility will permit access with all-terrain vehicles or other vehicles on special designated roads and trails for individuals who have obtained a disabled hunter permit.

Due to safety concerns, potential fire danger, and protecting and maintaining wildlife habitat, vehicles are not allowed to travel off trails, except for a direct trail line to retrieve downed game.

Any passengers in or on the disabled hunter’s permittee’s vehicle must be non-hunters, and all firearms must be fully cased and unloaded while the vehicle is in motion or in transit. The access vehicle must come to a complete stop with the motor turned off while aiming, firing, or shooting a weapon. Disabled hunter permittees cannot use vehicles to retrieve game for other hunters and cannot use vehicles to chase, harass, pursue or intercept wildlife.

Accessible trails and hunting blinds have been selected for ease of access to adequate pull-off areas. They are located in areas where a person will likely view various wildlife and game species. Please be aware that such public hunting areas will expose disabled hunters or other persons with physical disabilities to various degrees of physical risk. Additionally, due to the variability of the terrain and topographical conditions in these areas, not all parts of these GPAs will be entirely accessible to hunters with disabilities.

Please remember, these public hunting areas are unattended, and there is little chance GFP personnel would be in the local area in the event of an accident or if emergency assistance is needed. It is the hunter’s responsibility and right to decide if these areas are safe for their use and so will need to judge their own ability to safely access and use these areas.

Related: Find a coyote’s summer den here.

Coyote hunting in South Dakota: Accessible Public Hunting Areas.

The following Game Production Areas are managed for wildlife production and public hunting opportunities.

· Badger GPA- Lawrence County is located 3 miles west and 2 miles south of Spearfish. This area offers hunting opportunities for deer, elk, and turkey.

· Carpenter GPA- in Lyman County near Chamberlain. This area is adjacent to the Missouri River (Lake Francis Case) and located 1 mile west, 1 mile south, 2 1/2 miles west, and 3 miles south of Oacoma. The area has a combination of row crops, grassland, shelterbelts, and river breaks. This area offers deer, pheasants, grouse, and coyotes hunting opportunities.

· Long Lake GPA- Jerauld County is located 7 miles west and 6 miles north of Wessington Springs. The area features deer and waterfowl hunting.

· Byre GPA in Lyman County is located 7 miles south of I-90 on Highway 47. This area contains a disabled access trail and offers pheasant, deer, and turkey hunting opportunities.

· Hololubek GPA- in Brule County in located 4 miles west and 12 miles south of Kimball and contains an accessible duck hunting blind and vehicle access.

· Buffalo Lake GPA- in Minnehaha County, located 7 miles northwest of Colton and contains an accessible waterfowl hunting blind.

· Kamp GPA- in Moody county, located 6 miles south of Brookings and contained an accessible hunting blind offering opportunities for deer and turkey hunting.

· Mydland Pass GPA – Day county is located 8 miles north and 7 miles west of Webster. This area has a primitive trail that can be traveled using off-road vehicles. It offers deer, waterfowl, and pheasant hunting.

· Ortley GPA – in Roberts county is located ½ mile west and 1 mile north of Ortley. This area has a trail that can be traveled with a vehicle and offers deer and turkey hunting.

· Besler Ranch- Walk-In Area in Perkins County contains a designated area exclusively available to hunters with disabilities and offers hunting opportunities for deer, pronghorn, and pheasants.

· Cooperative Management Areas – COOP areas are private land leased for public hunting access that permits disabled hunter permit holders to drive on them to hunt. Most are located in the northeast part of the state and primarily provide deer, pheasant, and waterfowl hunting opportunities. See the public hunting maps for the locations of these areas.  

More Q & A from South Dakota.

Q: Can I carry a concealed firearm during the archery season?

A: A person who is allowed to carry a concealed pistol, according to state law, legally may carry a concealed handgun while hunting.

Can you use a suppressor while hunting coyotes in South Dakota?

ARE YOU ALLOWED TO HUNT WITH A SUPPRESSOR IN SOUTH DAKOTA? Yes, it is legal to hunt with a suppressor in South Dakota if you possess the proper federal documents for legally having the suppressor.


No, it is illegal to use a drone for hunting, taking, concentrating, driving, rallying, stirring up, locating, or spotting any wild bird or animal.


  • A licensee shall exhibit the licensee’s license or a license authorization
  • issued by GFP upon request by a conservation officer or other law enforcement officer. A licensee who
  • is 16 years of age or older who holds the license authorization, shall exhibit and provide for inspection
  • a driver’s license, a state-issued identification card or another form of valid identification for the purpose of verifying the identity of the licensee.
  • Hunters can use their smartphone to display a copy of their license in lieu of a paper copy.
  • South Dakota law prohibits the issuance of any license or permit issued by GFP if an individual owes $1,000 or more in past-due child support, unless the individual enters into a repayment agreement with the Department of Social Services (DSS) for payment of the delinquent child support. For more information, contact the Division of Child Support at 605.773.3641.
  • State hunting licenses are valid on private, deeded lands within the exterior boundaries of reservations.
  • State hunting licenses are not valid on tribal trust lands and tribal licenses are not valid on private deeded lands within a reservation. Persons planning to hunt on tribal lands should contact the appropriate tribal office: Cheyenne River (Eagle Butte), Crow Creek (Ft. Thompson), Flandreau Santee (Flandreau), Lower Brule (Lower Brule), Pine Ridge (Kyle), Rosebud (Rosebud), Sisseton/Wahpeton (Agency Village), Standing Rock (Ft. Yates, ND), Yankton (Marty). However, if hunting on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands adjoining the Crow Creek or Standing Rock Reservations, state licensing requirements, seasons, and bag limits apply

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

Recent Posts