South Dakota Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

Spring turkey hunters in South Dakota bagged 7,631 gobblers last season, down from 13,300 the year before. Hunter success this year is likely to be at or slightly below the levels of the 2013 season.

Merriam's turkeys are indigenous to South Dakota, but Rios and Easterns can be found there as well. Residents and nonresidents are eligible for the controlled spring prairie turkey season which is determined by a drawing held in mid-February. Residents can hunt in all units, while nonresidents are welcome to hunt all units west of the Missouri River.

Best bets west of the Missouri include the basins of the Grand and Cheyenne rivers and their tributaries. Lots of state and federal lands in this region provide good access for the traveler.

The Eastern subspecies can be found on the eastern side of the state. The James River and its tributaries turns out a lot of birds for South Dakotans each season.

The regular South Dakota turkey hunting season starts April 12 and runs through May 18. A special ADA spring turkey hunt will be held near Fort Pierre. Check the web site for application guidelines. There is a fall season, which typically runs from October 1 through January 31. The application process opens in mid-June. Hunter education is required for hunters aged 16 and younger.

Visit the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks web site to click on the Public Hunting Atlas which provides information on Walk-In Areas, Game Production Areas, BLM lands and more. Click on www.gfp.sd.gov/.

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