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For specific deer season information, select a season:

 

Mentored Deer Hunt

South Dakota residents have the opportunity to pass the wonderful tradition of deer hunting on to a new generation through the Mentored Hunt program.

A mentored hunting license is available for youth at least 10 years old and younger than 16 years old. This is a separate application process from the normal deer application. This is a one-to-one mentorship between an adult and the youth. The youth is not required to have hunter safety certification for this hunt, but certification is required of the mentor. Other requirements are listed in the application form.

We invite and encourage you to introduce a young person to hunting and all the joys and health benefits that go with being outdoors.

  • Season Dates:
    Mentored Deer - Varies by unit -

NOTE: The purchase of a mentored hunt license does not affect eligibility of the parent/guardian for other deer, antelope and turkey seasons.

Free access permits

In addition to a license, a FREE access permit is required to hunt certain areas during this season. An access permit is obtained/applied for through the online license system.

Access Permit for Hill Ranch GPA, Little Moreau GPA, and all Custer National Forest Service land within Harding County: FREE Access Permit required for Archery, Muzzleloader and Youth deer hunting.

Things to Remember for Mentored Hunts

  1. Safety First: Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, practice muzzle control, and be absolutely sure of the target. Safety is the primary concern when youth are involved in hunting.
  2. Practice: Practicing shooting skills before the hunt eases fears , reduces wounding loss, and builds confidence.
  3. Have Fun & Be Positive: Success is the hunt, not the kill.
  4. Get Involved: Participate in nature-oriented activities and study wildlife behavior within their habitat.
  5. Give All Your Attention to the Youth: Mentoring is about the youth, not about the adult.
  6. Be aware of their age: Physical stamina and mental maturity is different for youth. Consider short hunts and talk beforehand about field dressing animals.
  7. Patience: Youth don't always get it right the first time. Practice CPR: Compliment, Positive correction, Review.
  8. Listen and Talk: Listen and address any concerns the youth may have before the hunt. Talk to the youth about their connection to nature and respect for habitat and wildlife.
  9. Use Appropriate Equipment: Hunting gear is not one size fits all. Be sure to get the correct sizes.
  10. No Pressure: Sometimes the best shot is no shot. The only good shot is one the youth is comfortable with.
  11. Use Good Judgment: If the youth is not ready for hunting, having the youth observe a hunt is a great option.