Gray wolves remain protected in South Dakota

Staff reports
Farm Forum

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department wants to remind individuals that gray wolves remain protected statewide under the federal Endangered Species Act, which has been in place since 2014.

South Dakota does not have suitable habitat to maintain a population of wolves. GFP does not have any plans or intentions of facilitating the establishment of gray wolves in South Dakota.

Although it’s uncommon, transient wolves from surrounding states have been documented traveling through South Dakota, and over the years a few have been killed on both sides of the Missouri River.

Sportsmen and women and fur harvesters are reminded to exercise caution if they believe a gray wolf is in the area. Hunters need to clearly identify their target before using their firearms when hunting coyotes. If a suspected wolf is in a trap, individuals should contact GFP officials immediately.

The federal protections of the Endangered Species Act prohibit killing a gray wolf unless it is threatening human life. If livestock producers have concerns with a suspected wolf near their operation, they should contact a local GFP wildlife damage specialist or regional office. If the livestock loss is determined to have been possibly killed by a gray wolf, the department will work directly with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address the situation.

For more information or to learn more about identifying gray wolves and coyotes, please visit