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From the shores of Lake Oahe to the prairies of the Fort Pierre National Grassland, the area surrounding Pierre and Fort Pierre boasts a rich diversity of big and small game. Hunting in the Pierre area is a sport nearly year-round, as it is throughout the state.

More than 15 million ducks and 750,000 geese travel through South Dakota each October–January as they migrate toward warmer climes. Located along the Missouri River — the main corridor for many of these waterfowl — Pierre and Fort Pierre offer excellent hunting of:


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February through May brings a second season, specifically for light geese.

Pheasant and grouse
The Fort Pierre National Grassland supports premier grouse hunting as well as maintaining an excellent population of pheasants. The territories of these game birds also overlap along the Missouri River, and recent surveys show healthy populations of both in the Pierre area, where the hunting season on public lands runs from mid-October through December. Numerous commercially operated preserves in the Pierre area offer pheasant hunting until early spring. Look for pheasants in farmed fields, tree strips and wetlands; grouse prefer native prairie grass and brushy areas.

Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, Antelope and Turkey
Central South Dakota offers a good assortment of big game, including

These are hunted in separate firearm and archery seasons occurring in August–December, with a second turkey season from April to mid-May.

Antelope, whitetails and mule deer inhabit areas west of the Missouri River, including the Fort Pierre National Grassland. East of the river, look for whitetails in farmed areas. Wild turkeys are found in wooded and brushy areas along the river.

Each November through early January the Triple U Ranch, located 35 miles northwest of Fort Pierre, offers guided trophy buffalo hunts and meat hunts.

Prairie dogs and Coyotes
Year-round hunting and few restrictions make coyotes and prairie dogs popular off-season game. Found throughout South Dakota’s prairies and rolling hills, prairie dogs may be hunted all year on private lands with the owner’s permission and on public lands, such as the Fort Pierre National Grassland, from mid-June through February.

Scattered throughout the state, coyotes may be hunted year-round.

Sporting clays
The fastest growing shotgun sport in the nation, sporting clays gives hunters a chance to sharpen their skills during the season as well as off season. Two courses, Willow Creek and Cheyenne Ridge, are located within a 20-minute drive.

Hunting licenses
A license is always required for hunting big or small game. South Dakota issues resident and nonresident hunting licenses in game-specific categories; application deadlines typically fall two to four months before the season opens. Nonresident licenses are available for all kinds of game, though some are available only via lottery. Visit www.sdgpf.info  for season dates and license application deadlines, and avoid disappointment by planning your trip well ahead of hunting season.

U.S. and Canadian citizens who are over 16 and have valid Social Security numbers (not required of Canadian citizens) can purchase over-the-counter licenses online at www.sdgfp.info; a credit card and a printer are needed to buy the license and print it for use. Parents may purchase youth permits for their children.

Those who need to present some other form of physical documentation (e.g., nonresident students attending school in South Dakota and nonresidents serving in the military stationed in South Dakota) must purchase their licenses from a storefront agent.

Non-U.S./Canadian citizens who need to purchase hunting licenses in advance of entering the United States should call Game, Fish and Parks, (605) 773-3485, to make special arrangements.

Boat ramps
More than three dozen boat ramps dot the shores of Lake Oahe and Lake Sharpe; access to Lake Oahe sites depends on the reservoir’s water levels. Clink on the area map link for the locations of area boat ramps. For updated information on possible ramp closings, visit http://gfp.sd.gov/fishing-boating/boating/default.aspx