Legislature votes on new Hunting License Laws

Legislators are considering a bill about who qualifies for a South Dakota hunting, fishing, or trapping license.


SB54 passed 13 to 0 in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in another legislative step Tuesday morning.


The South Dakota Game, Fish, and Park’s chief law enforcement officer, Sam Schelhaas, (Shell Hahs)  testified before the committee. He said there are tens of thousands of resident applications for elk and bighorn sheep.



Schelhaas said they get over 47,000 instate applications for 1,800 elk tags. For the ten bighorn sheep tags, they get over 18,000 resident applications.


The new law would require a person to live in South Dakota for 185 days as one indicator of South Dakota residency. Simply having a mailbox, owning property, or owning a business is insufficient to grant residency for game licenses.


If passed, the bill could negatively impact so-called “mailbox people” with a South Dakota address, according to Schelhaas. Many of these people own recreational vehicles.


According to Schelhaas, the bill would not impact residency requirements for voting and driver’s licenses.  The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.