SM Link

Elk hunting

For specific elk season information, select a season:


elk picElk are found in the Black Hills and on the prairie in Butte, Bennett and Gregory counties. South Dakota's present-day elk herd consists of over 6,000 Rocky Mountain elk. Only South Dakota residents are eligible to apply for and receive an elk license in South Dakota.

Options for hunters include firearm and archery seasons both inside Custer State Park, and seasons in the Black Hills area outside the park. In addition, there are other areas outside the Black Hills where elk hunting opportunity exists.

The application process for the elk seasons opens in mid April with a late May deadline.

You may apply for any and all seasons for which you are eligible; however for equitable distribution of licenses you will be limited to one elk license for the year. Licenses are drawn in sequence from season to season.

Drawing Sequence

The first drawing will be for all eligible applicants. See "License Eligibility" under each season section in the following application instructions. Only one choice may be made per season in the first drawing. You can apply for a second choice in the second drawing. Preference only applies to the first drawing. If you draw your first choice on the first drawing, you will lose eligibility for the specified duration in future years.

First Elk Drawing:

Second Elk Drawing (if required):
Third Elk Drawing (if required):

Healthy Hunter

The Healthy Hunter website is sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Health and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. It was created to help hunters be more active and eat healthier as they prepare for the hunting season.


Learn more about outdoor cooking, wild game recipes, and more ...