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Cottontail Rabbit

Season Dates: Sept. 1 - Feb. 28
Landowners and their guests may hunt cottontail rabbit on the landowner’s property year-round without a limit.
Open Area: Statewide
Daily Limit: 10
Possession Limit: 30

A favorite game animal across America, especially for young hunters, cottontails are found throughout South Dakota.

They thrive in a variety of areas, including brushy growth and forest edges. They typically avoid large open areas. Cottontails are solitary animals that feed in the early morning and at sunset. They do not hibernate and remain active in the winter. Winter foods include stems, buds, and bark of woody vegetation.

As always with game animals, hunters must be cautious in handling carcasses. Cottontails are known to carry tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, both transmittable to humans.

Did you know: The Eastern Cottontail is common to South Dakota, but it isn't the only species. Mountain Cottontail and Desert Cottontail have been found in western parts of the state.

Landowners may take cottontail rabbits on their own property year-round without restriction.

License Requirements:

Hunting Regulations: A summary of the rules and regulations that guide your hunt.

Public Hunting Areas: We offer over 1 million acres of Walk-In Areas (private land leased for public hunting) to supplement our many other public hunting opportunities. Not only can you access these maps, but we offer options to personalize maps to meet your needs and even download map information to your GPS unit.

Hunter Harvest Survey Reports: A scientific sampling of hunters is taken after many hunting seasons. The information you provide is not only valuable to our biologists, but is good background information for you on the past year