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PIERRE - Law Enforcement officials for South Dakota’s Dept. of Game, Fish and Parks are reminding outdoor enthusiasts about the new laws and changes to existing laws that became effective July 1.

Law Enforcement Specialist Dave McCrea of Pierre said the laws and changes related to GFP cover road hunting, boating and snowmobile accident reporting, active-duty military personnel, recreational spotlighting and carrying a firearm on an ATV.

"In particular, it is important the sporting public know and understand the new road hunting laws," McCrea said. "The department asks each hunter to carefully read and understand the new laws so we can keep road hunting a viable tradition in our state."

The new and amended laws include the following:

bulletThe law now allows a hunter to shoot at a small game bird, except mourning dove, that originates from within a road right-of-way but actually enters private land air space prior to the bird being shot at by the hunter. The hunter may retrieve the bird from private land as long as the hunter is unarmed and on foot.

In addition, if a person is road hunting, he or she must meet the following requirements:

a. The person must park or stop their vehicle as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible;

b. If the person who discharges a firearm is more than 50 yards from the vehicle, the doors on the side of the vehicle nearest the roadway must be closed, but the engine may remain running; and

c. If the person who discharges a firearm is less than 50 yards from the vehicle, all of the doors of the vehicle must be closed and the engine shall be turned off. The legislature also made it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person who, while hunting a road right-of-way, to negligently endanger another person, or put that person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm.

bulletThe amount of damage required to a boat or snowmobile before it becomes a reportable accident was raised from $500 to $1,000 or more to any one person's property or two thousand dollars or more in any one accident.
bulletResidents on active military duty who entered the military from South Dakota and who are currently stationed out-of-state are no longer required to purchase a resident small game or fishing license. However, if the resident is hunting migratory birds, he or she is required to obtain a migratory bird certification and federal migratory bird stamp. While engaged in the permitted activity, the resident shall have in their possession and shall display appropriate military orders indicating the resident is on active duty stationed outside of South Dakota and a valid South Dakota driver's license or South Dakota identification card. This law does not apply to reserve and National Guard units on training assignments.
bulletThe act of "recreational spotlighting" was prohibited for a specific time of year. From 10 p.m. to sunrise from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31, inclusive, no person may operate an artificial light (except headlights) to spot or locate any wild animal. The two exceptions to the law are those hunting raccoons on foot with dogs and landowners/operators and up to one guest who hunt on the landowners’ or operators’ land using a .22 caliber rimfire firearm or shotgun with shotshells.
bulletA person possessing a valid permit to shoot from a stationary motor vehicle issued by the department is no longer required to transport a firearm unloaded and/or cased on an ATV.

These laws and other laws related to GFP are accessible on the State of South Dakota website at

Questions on hunting and fishing laws can be directed to a person’s county conservation officer or via the GFP website at





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