Hunters Reminded to Follow Right-of-Way Hunting Rules

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Staff reports

Public-road rights of way are open for small-game and waterfowl hunting in South Dakota, but hunters need to remember the following rules:

• No person may hunt within 660 feet of schools, churches, occupied dwellings and livestock. Hunters are reminded to be respectful of their surroundings.

• Hunters can take only small game (except doves) and waterfowl within the right of way on foot. The hunter must be within the right of way, and the game must have taken flight from within or be flying over the right of way.

• Hunters must park or stop their vehicle as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible.

• When discharging a firearm, the hunter must be 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). If the hunter is less than 50 yards from the vehicle, all the doors of the vehicle must be closed and the engine turned off.

• Shooting small game and waterfowl that take flight from a public right of way over a federal refuge or Indian Tribal Trust lands is prohibited. If a state-licensed hunter shoots at a bird across the fence on either of these lands, the hunter may be subject to arrest by federal fish and wildlife officers.

• Small game and waterfowl taken from the right of way that fall on private property can be retrieved by unarmed hunters on foot. It is always a good idea to visit with the landowner before retrieving your game.

• No person may discharge a firearm, muzzleloader, crossbow, or bow and arrow at any big-game animal (except turkey taken with a shotgun using shotshells or a bow and arrow) from within the right of way of an improved public highway.

• Discharging firearms or other weapons across or from any Black Hills National Forest system road is prohibited.

• Any person who, while hunting a road right of way, negligently endangers another person or puts that person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

• The public right of way along a section line or other highway is open for hunting if the right of way has been commonly used by the public for vehicular travel, as demonstrated by the existence of a well-worn vehicle trail. It’s also open for hunting if an intentional alteration or adaptation has been made to the right of way to enhance the natural terrain’s utility for vehicular travel or to permit vehicular travel where it was not possible before.

• Hunters should avoid parking in approaches where farmers still have unharvested fields and leave enough space for machinery to get in and out of farm fields.

For more information, go to gfp.sd.gov/hunting/areas/right-of-way.aspx.