It's a good time for baiting and big game hunting: Jamie Pekelder

Jamie Pekelder
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks
Jamie Pekelder, GFP District Conservation Officer Supervisor

Now that fall has arrived, leaves are changing colors, days are shorter, evenings are cooler, harvest is in full swing, and several hunting seasons have begun. Hunters are beginning the transition from their summer activities to their fall hunting activities. A popular season for many hunters in South Dakota is the archery deer season. South Dakota’s archery deer season began on September 1st and runs through January 1st, 2023.

As hunters prepare to take to the woods, sporting goods store aisles seem to be a little more crowded than normal. They are filled with hunters looking at the latest hunting gadgets or supplies to assist them in harvesting that trophy buck. In some of those aisles, hunters shopping for that latest and greatest item will notice several varieties of deer “baits”, such as mineral blocks, deer food supplements, liquid mineral supplements, the list could go on and on. An important thing to remember is that it is illegal to use bait to hunt big game in South Dakota. So, don’t assume that since you can buy different types of deer “baits” that it is legal to use while hunting in South Dakota.

It is illegal for anyone to place any salt or salt lick or construct, occupy, or use any screen, blind, scaffold, or other device at or near any salt or salt lick for the purposes of enticing or baiting big game animals to the same for the purpose of hunting, watching for, or killing big game.

Additionally, no one may establish, utilize, or maintain a bait station from August 1st through February 1st, inclusive, and from March 15th through May 31st, inclusive, to attract any big game animal, including wild turkey.

A bait station is a location where grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, hay, minerals (including salt), or any other natural food materials, commercial products containing natural food materials, or by-products of such materials are placed or maintained as an attractant to big game animals for the purpose of hunting. The use of scents alone does not constitute a bait station. Also, the bait station restriction does not apply to foods that have not been placed or gathered by a person and result from normal environmental conditions or accepted farming, forest management, wildlife food plantings, orchard management, or similar land management activities.

Hunters should also be aware that it is illegal to establish, utilize, or maintain a bait station on lands owned by the SD Game, Fish and Parks Department and on properties managed and classified by the department as Game Production Areas, State Parks, State Recreation Areas, State Lakeside Use Areas, State Nature Areas, and State Water Access Areas.

As we progress into fall, take some time to enjoy the resources that South Dakota has to offer.