Table of Contents
- Barbed Hooks
- Bobcat Carcasses
- River Otter Carcasses
- Body Grip Traps
- Catches out of Season
- Closed Areas
- Colony Traps
- Furbearer Possession, Live
- Furbearers, Release or Killing
- Live Mammals or Birds
- Permission Required
- Pole Traps
- Protected Animals
- Raw Furs
- Trap Checking
- Trap Removals
- Trapping in State Parks
- Trap Vandalism
- Visible Bait
- Water Set
Barbed hooks or other similarly sharpened instruments are prohibited from being used to take fur-bearing animals. This regulation ensures humane treatment and the ethical capture of furbearers by preventing undue harm and suffering.
Individuals harvesting a bobcat must submit the entire carcass and detached pelt to GFP personnel within five days of capture. After the season closes, any untagged bobcats must be reported within 24 hours. The pelt will be inspected, tagged, and registered, with the lower jaw removed for data collection. The tagged pelt can be returned, and the carcass may also be returned upon request. Possession, purchase, or sale of untagged raw bobcat pelts is prohibited.
River Otter Carcasses
Harvesting a river otter requires reporting to GFP within 24 hours and submission of the entire carcass and detached pelt within five days. After the season or harvest limit is reached, untagged river otters must be reported within 24 hours. The pelt will be inspected, tagged, and registered, with the carcass surrendered to GFP for data collection and possibly returned upon request. No person may possess, purchase, or sell raw river otter pelts that are not legally tagged. River otters harvested after the season's close will be considered incidental take and must be surrendered to GFP.
Body Grip Traps (Commonly Known as Conibears)
Body grip traps with a jaw spread greater than eight inches are allowed exclusively as water sets. These traps must have their entire bottom surface completely submerged below the water's edge during trapping to ensure safety and adherence to regulations.
On all public lands and road rights-of-way statewide, the setting or operation of body grip traps with a jaw spread greater than 6 3/4 inches (larger than a 160 conibear) is regulated, especially when used with bait, lure, or scent. The following conditions must be met:
- Cubby Requirement: The trap must be recessed in a plastic, wood, or metal cubby with a minimum of seven inches from the front edge of the cubby to the trigger of the trap; or
- Water's Edge Setting: The trap is set below the water's edge of a stream, river, or other body of water.
Note that merely having a single overhang on the top of the cubby does not meet the recess requirement, indicating that more comprehensive measures are necessary for the trap to be considered appropriately set.
Catches Out of Season
If a trapper captures a wild animal during a closed season, the following procedures must be adhered to:
Immediate Release of Live Animals: If a live wild animal is found in a trap or snare during a closed season, the trapper must release the animal immediately.
Handling of Dead Animals: If a trapper discovers a dead wild animal in a trap or snare out of season, they must not disturb the animal in the trap or snare. Instead, they are required to contact a GFP (Game, Fish, and Parks) representative within 12 hours.
There are specific areas where hunting and trapping of furbearers are strictly prohibited. These areas include:
- National Monuments
- State Game Refuges
- Custer State Park
- Privately owned areas within the aforementioned lands
Additionally, federal refuges are generally closed to trapping unless there is express authorization allowing such activities.
Colony traps are a specific type of trap used for capturing muskrats and other similar animals. When setting up colony traps, the following size restrictions must be observed:
- Overall Length: The trap must not exceed 36 inches in overall length.
- Round Colony Trap: If the trap is round, the diameter cannot exceed 12 inches.
- Box Colony Trap: If the trap is a box shape, neither the height nor the width can exceed 12 inches.
Flagging or marking a muskrat house is subject to specific timing regulations:
- Before Season Opening: It is prohibited for any person to flag, mark, or attempt to claim a muskrat house on public lands or waters before sunrise on the opening day of the trapping season (typically November 1).
- After Season Opening: Once the trapping season has commenced, marking of muskrat houses is permissible only if the house contains an operational trap set.
Furbearer Possession, Live
Live furbearer possession is generally prohibited, with specific exceptions and regulations as follows:
Household Pets: Households are permitted to keep no more than one live furbearer as a pet. Eligible species for such possession include a raccoon, jackrabbit, skunk, red or grey fox, or coyote.
Permits: Keeping mammals, including certain furbearers, as pets requires a permit from the Animal Industry Board. Individuals interested in keeping a furbearer as a pet should contact the Animal Industry Board at 605.773.3321 for detailed requirements and to obtain the necessary permits.
Physical Alteration: Physical alteration of pet furbearers is generally prohibited. However, an exception is made for skunks, which may be descended.
Sale or Purchase Prohibition: The sale or purchase of wild furbearers as pets is strictly prohibited to prevent wildlife trafficking and ensure the ethical treatment of animals.
Furbearers, Release or Killing
When furbearers are encountered in the wild, outside the specific provisions for keeping them as pets, the following regulations apply:
- Release or Humane Killing: Furbearers taken from the wild must be handled in one of two ways: they must either be promptly released back into their natural habitat or humanely killed.
Residents of South Dakota who own or lease land have certain privileges regarding fur-bearing animals:
- Land Ownership or Lease: A resident of South Dakota is allowed to catch, trap, or kill fur-bearing animals on land that they own or lease without the need for a separate hunting or trapping license.
Live Mammals or Birds
To ensure fair and humane trapping practices, the use of live mammals or birds to aid in capturing fur-bearing animals, predators, or varmints with traps or snares is strictly prohibited. This regulation aims to prevent the use of live animals as bait or lures in trapping, promoting ethical and humane trapping methods.
Permission Required for Trapping
Obtaining proper permission is crucial when engaging in trapping activities to ensure responsible and ethical trapping practices. Here are the key requirements:
Trapping Near Private Land
Fence Attachment: Traps, including snares, may not be attached to any part of a fence along road rights-of-way adjacent to private land without obtaining permission from the adjoining landowner.
Proximity to Residences: Trapping on public road rights-of-way within 660 feet of a home, church, or schoolhouse is restricted to the adjoining landowner or individuals with written permission from the adjoining landowner.
Livestock Areas: Snares must not be set within fenced pastures, cropland, feedlots, or fenced areas containing domestic livestock without permission from the landowner or the operator.
Trapping in State Parks and Leased Private Land
A person must obtain a permit issued by the park manager to trap in a state park or recreation area. These free permits are valid from November 1 to March 31.
When trapping on private land leased for public hunting in programs such as the Walk-In Area Program (WIA), Controlled Hunting and Access Program (CHAP), and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), permission from the landowner is also required.
Pole Traps and Raptor Protection
To safeguard raptors and prevent their unintentional harm, specific regulations are in place regarding the use of pole traps:
Prohibition of Pole Traps
- It is strictly prohibited for any person to set or place any trap, snare, or similar device on a pole or post in a manner that could lead to the capture, injury, or death of raptors.
Protection of Endangered Species
Certain species are protected to ensure their conservation and well-being. It is crucial to follow these regulations:
- The following species are protected and may not be taken under any circumstances:
- Pine (American) Marten
- Black-footed Ferret
- Swift Fox
Handling Accidental Encounters
- In the event of an accidental capture of any of the protected species mentioned above, the following steps must be taken:
- The animal must be released alive, ensuring its safety and well-being.
- If the animal is found deceased, it must be left undisturbed in the snare or trap.
- A representative from the GFP (South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks) must be contacted within 12 hours to report the incident.
Storage of Raw Furs
If you possess raw furs, it's important to adhere to the following regulations for their storage:
Keeping Raw Furs
- You are allowed to keep raw furs after the close of each respective hunting or trapping season.
- To legally keep raw furs, you must ensure they are inspected by a GFP (South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks) conservation officer within 10 days of the close of the season.
Restrictions on Furbearer Activities
To ensure responsible and lawful furbearer activities, the following restrictions apply in South Dakota, with exceptions in certain counties:
General Restrictions (Except in Haakon, Jackson, Jones, Lyman, and Stanley Counties)
- Hunting mink or muskrats with dogs is prohibited.
- Digging or disturbing a mink den or beaver house to capture mink or beaver is prohibited.
- The use of poison, gas, or smoke to kill or capture these animals is prohibited.
- Spearfishing for muskrats is prohibited.
- The destruction of a muskrat house is prohibited, except during the open season. If opened during this time, it must be done in a manner that will not destroy or damage it as a place of habitation.
Regulations for Snares
Snares are an important tool for trapping, but they must be used responsibly and in compliance with South Dakota's regulations. Here are the key regulations for using snares:
- Snares must have a mechanical lock, swivel device on the anchor end, and a stop device to prevent the restraint loop from closing to a diameter less than 2-1/2 inches.
- Snares should be attached either directly to the anchoring device or by chain or cable between the swivel and the anchoring device.
- The swivel used should not exceed four inches in length and must operate freely when set.
- It is prohibited to attach snares to a drag.
- Snares that have a lock or device with a breaking strength of 350 pounds of pressure or less are exempt from the permanent stop requirement. Trappers using these snares must submit them for breaking strength testing if requested by a GFP representative.
Transport and Possession
- It is unlawful to possess or transport snares that are not properly equipped.
- Snares are prohibited from May 1st to November 13th on improved road rights-of-way and all public lands statewide.
- Snares with springs or other devices that apply pressure to the locking mechanism (e.g., kill springs, choke springs, compression springs, dispatch springs, ram snares) may not be placed on a Game Production Area or Waterfowl Production Area unless the snare is positioned below the surface of the water or ice.
Trap Checking Regulations
Proper trap checking is essential to ensure the humane treatment of animals and compliance with South Dakota's trapping regulations. Here are the key regulations regarding trap checking:
General Trap Checking Requirements
- Traps, including snares, must be checked in person before midnight of the second full calendar day from the time the trap was initially set or last checked if it is located east of the Missouri River.
- If the trap is located west of the Missouri River, it must be checked in person before midnight of the third full calendar day from the time it was initially set or last checked.
- Any animal caught in a trap must be promptly removed.
Specific Requirements for Submerged Traps
- Traps or snares that are entirely submerged in the water and remain set beneath ice have different checking requirements.
- These submerged traps must be checked in person, and any animals caught in them must be removed before midnight of the fifth full calendar day.
Trap Removal Regulations
To ensure the responsible and safe use of traps, South Dakota has established regulations regarding trap removals. Here are the key regulations:
- If traps, including snares, are not being checked within the required trap check period, they must be rendered inoperable.
- Snares shall be closed to their permanent stop or closed to less than 2-1/2 inches if not equipped with a permanent stop.
Removal from Public Lands and Road Rights-of-Way
- All traps and snares, whether set or unset, as well as stakes, cables, chains, wires, or other devices used for attaching a trap or snare, must be removed from public lands and improved road rights-of-way.
- This removal must be completed before May 1 of each year.
Exception for Live Traps
- Live traps may continue to be used until August 31.
Trapping in State Parks
Trapping within South Dakota's State Parks and Recreation Areas is subject to specific regulations to ensure the safety and compatibility of trapping with recreational activities. Here are the key regulations:
- To trap in a State Park or Recreation Area, individuals must obtain a permit issued by the park manager.
- Some areas, such as Custer State Park, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in Union County, and Beaver Creek Nature Area in Minnehaha County, are closed to trapping.
- The permits for trapping in State Parks are free of charge and are valid from November 1 to March 31.
- Trappers must hold a valid furbearer license.
- Trappers must be familiar with and adhere to all park regulations, including those related to firearms and vehicle use.
The act of stealing, damaging, or destroying another person's trap, snare, or captured animal in a trap is strictly prohibited. This regulation is in place to prevent vandalism and ensure the integrity of trapping activities. Traps and snares are essential tools for responsible trapping, and any interference with them can disrupt lawful and ethical trapping practices.
Avoidance of Visible Bait
Traps, including snares, must not be set within 30 feet of exposed bait that is visible to airborne raptors. Exposed bait refers to any meat or viscera of an animal, bird, or fish, whether it has skin, hide, or feathers or not. This regulation aims to prevent unintended captures of raptors, which are birds of prey that might be attracted to exposed bait.
Water Sets and Bait Avoidance
From October 1st to October 31st, traps (except live cage traps or live box traps, snares, and traps designed specifically for raccoons like coon cuffs and egg traps) cannot be placed or set in water or within 30 feet of water. However, body-grip traps may be set below the water's edge for beaver trapping, statewide except in the Black Hills Fire Protection District. It's essential to ensure that the entire bottom surface of these traps remains below the water's edge at all times during beaver trapping.
During this period, which runs from October 1st to sunrise on November 1st, inclusive, no one may place any trap (set or unset), stake, cable, chain, wire, or any other device used for attaching a trap or attempt to claim or mark a trap site within 30 feet of water on public road rights-of-way or public lands or waters that are open to trapping. This regulation helps maintain responsible trapping practices and minimizes the impact on public lands and waters during this specific timeframe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. FAQ: When can I set traps near water in South Dakota?
- Answer: Traps, excluding certain types, cannot be placed near water or in water from October 1st to October 31st. Beaver trapping with body-grip traps is an exception, but they must remain completely below the water's edge.
2. FAQ: What are the exceptions for setting traps near water in South Dakota?
- Answer: Body-grip traps can be set below the water's edge for beaver trapping statewide, except in the Black Hills Fire Protection District, from October 1st to October 31st.
3. FAQ: Can I place traps near bait in South Dakota?
- Answer: Traps, including snares, cannot be set within 30 feet of exposed bait visible to airborne raptors. Exposed bait includes meat or viscera of any animal, bird, or fish.
4. FAQ: What should I do if I find a protected species in my trap in South Dakota?
- Answer: If you accidentally catch a protected species, you must release it alive. If the animal is found dead, leave it undisturbed in the trap and contact a GFP representative within 12 hours.
5. FAQ: Is trapping allowed in South Dakota State Parks?
- Answer: Trapping in South Dakota State Parks requires a permit issued by the park manager. Some parks are closed to trapping. The free permits are valid from November 1st to March 31st, and a valid furbearer license is required.
6. FAQ: Can I use live mammals or birds in traps in South Dakota?
- Answer: The use of any live mammal or live bird to aid in the taking of a fur-bearing animal, predator, or varmint by a trap or snare is prohibited.
7. FAQ: Are there restrictions on trapping in specific South Dakota counties?
- Answer: In Haakon, Jackson, Jones, Lyman, and Stanley counties, certain trapping laws do not apply for muskrats. For example, hunting mink or muskrats with dogs is allowed in these countries.
8. FAQ: What's the requirement for checking traps in South Dakota?
- Answer: Traps, including snares, must be checked in person before midnight of the second full calendar day (from the time the trap was initially set or last checked) east of the Missouri River, and before midnight of the third full calendar day west of the Missouri River.
9. FAQ: Can I trap in South Dakota State Parks for free?
- Answer: Trappers must obtain a free permit from the park manager to trap in a South Dakota State Park. The permits are valid from November 1st to March 31st, and a valid furbearer license is required.
10. FAQ: What are the rules for trapping near private land in South Dakota?
- Answer: No person may attach a trap, including snares, to any part of a fence along road rights-of-way adjacent to private land without permission from the adjoining landowner.
11. FAQ: Can I possess live furbearers as pets in South Dakota?
- Answer: Possession of live furbearers is prohibited, except for one live furbearer per household, such as a raccoon, jackrabbit, skunk, red or grey fox, or coyote, which may be kept as a pet with certain conditions.
12. FAQ: How should I handle catches out of season in South Dakota?
- Answer: If a trapper finds a live wild animal in a trap or snare during a closed season, they must immediately release it. If a dead wild animal is found out of season, it must be left undisturbed in the trap or snare, and a GFP representative must be contacted within 12 hours.
13. FAQ: Are there restrictions on setting traps on public lands in South Dakota?
- Answer: Yes, there are restrictions. No person may set traps, including snares, within 660 feet of a home, church, or schoolhouse on public road rights-of-way without permission. Additionally, snares are prohibited in certain areas without landowner permission.
14. FAQ: What are the regulations for using snares in South Dakota?
- Answer: Snares must have a mechanical lock, a swivel device on the anchor end, and a stop device to prevent the restraint loop from closing below 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Some exceptions apply based on snare type.
15. FAQ: What do I do with raw furs in South Dakota after the trapping season closes?
- Answer: Raw furs can be kept after the close of the trapping season if they are checked with a GFP conservation officer within 10 days.