South Dakota State Game Refuges: Types and Locations

South Dakota's State Game Refuges are designated areas to preserve wildlife by restricting or allowing specific hunting activities. Understanding these refuges is crucial for hunters to comply with state regulations and contribute to wildlife conservation.

Types of Refuges

  1. Game Refuge: These areas prohibit all hunting and trapping activities for any species, ensuring complete protection for wildlife within its boundaries.
  2. Game Bird Refuge: In these refuges, hunting of game birds, including waterfowl, is prohibited. However, hunting of big game and trapping activities are permitted, allowing for limited, regulated hunting.
  3. Waterfowl Refuge: These are designated to specifically protect waterfowl species. While waterfowl hunting is prohibited, big game and small game hunting, as well as trapping, are allowed.

Examples of State Game Refuges in South Dakota

  • Brown County: Renziehausen Slough is designated as a Game Bird Refuge.
  • Brule County: Jorgenson is recognized as a Game Refuge, providing complete protection.
  • Clark County: Reid Lake and Antelope Lake are both Waterfowl Refuges.
  • Day County: Waubay is designated as a Game Bird Refuge.
  • Faulk County: Gerken is a Game Bird Refuge, while Scatterwood Lake is a Waterfowl Refuge.

Missouri River State Waterfowl Refuges

Along the Missouri River, several areas are designated as state waterfowl refuges, with specific rules for waterfowl protection. These include:

  • Lake Oahe: Multiple areas such as Blue Blanket, Swan Creek, and Spring Creek are designated Waterfowl Refuges.
  • Lake Sharpe: Features refuges including Oahe Dam and Joe Creek as Waterfowl Refuges.
  • Lake Francis Case: Hosts several Waterfowl Refuges like Big Bend Dam and Chamberlain North.
  • Lake Lewis and Clark: Known for the Fort Randall Dam Tailwater Waterfowl Refuge.

Regulations and Access

It's important to note that specific rules apply during different hunting seasons and conservation orders. For instance, certain refuges like those around Oahe Dam, Big Bend Dam, and Fort Randall Dam have seasonal restrictions on waterfowl hunting. All state waterfowl refuges are open during the Light Goose Conservation Order in the spring, with a few exceptions like Silver Lake.

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