Properly transporting game and fish ensures you have a good hunt: Logan Hammer

Logan Hammer
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

It is officially here; fall is in full swing. The days are getting shorter, temperatures are getting colder, and the hunting and fishing is heating up. As the hunting and fishing trips begin to take off, it is a good time of year to remind sportsmen about the proper ways to legally transport game and fish. The main issue we run into are following transportation requirements each year during the numerous road checks that South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks conduct. It is easy to overlook but can be costly in the end by not taking the proper steps to legally transport your game and fish.

As far as fall fishing goes, the walleye and perch bite continue to be phenomenal. Anglers are having very good success across our eastern South Dakota lakes. It is important to know how to legally bring those fish back home when fishermen travel from far away to take advantage of our wonderful fishing.

To legally transport fish, you must:

  • Not transport fish fillets unless those fillets can be readily counted.
  • Package frozen fish individually for transportation or when placed in public storage.
  • Tag and identify any fish placed in public storage.
  • Remember that individual pieces of fish constitute one fillet; two fillets are the equivalent of one fish.

As the small game and waterfowl seasons also hit their peak, we find many people traveling across our great state to take advantage of the good hunting. Familiarize yourself with South Dakota’s small game and waterfowl transportation requirements to save yourself a costly mistake.

No game bird, including a wild turkey, may be possessed, or transported unless the following minimum requirements are met:

  • Waterfowl shall include an attached fully feathered wing or an attached head.
  • Pheasants and grouse shall include at least one of the following attached: the head, a fully feathered wing, or a foot.
  • Wild turkeys shall include the attached leg and foot bearing the tag issued with the license.

Finally, we will cover the big game requirements. We still have a few weeks left to wait here on the eastern side of South Dakota, but the beginning of rifle season is less than a week away in other portions of the state. There is no better time than now to review the big game animal transportation requirements.

To legally transport big game, you must:

  • Sign, date, and securely attach the tag to the big game animal at the time it is brought to the road or into any hunting camp, farmyard, or residence, or before being placed in or on a vehicle.
  • The tag can be attached in three different ways:
    • Around one hind leg between the hoof and ankle joint;
    • Around the hock tendon directly above the ankle joint on one hind leg; or
    • Around the base of the antler or horn.
  • A properly tagged leg or antler along with either the animals head or hind quarter with visible external sex organs left naturally attached to it must be present to transport the animal.

I hope these tips answer some of your questions and clear up any confusion about transporting game and fish from South Dakota back to your domicile. Take the time and slow down to make sure what you are doing is legal when you are out hunting or fishing. Also, slow down and take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife that South Dakota has to offer. I wish all of you the best of luck this fall.

Logan Hammer is a conservation officer with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.