2018 SD west river deer

johnsd16

Active Member
Mar 16, 2014
353
3
N Idaho
Hey guys, I know the season is in swing now, and my partner and I are thinking of making a go at SD WR rifle deer next year. Any reports on how the deer are doing after the catastrophe of 2013-2014? I know this winter and next spring will be important, but wondering what guys are seeing. We plan to do DIY public land but would object to a trespass fee as it seems like the incremental benefit in SD is a little more significant. We have done SE MT the last 2/3 years and have done well, and are realizing the value of getting to know an area, and not being afraid to walk. If have spent some time looking at maps, public land, WIA abundance, and tried to look at draw odds. I am looking at 35A, 35C, 27B, 15A and 53A in no particular order. Of course also 35L. I have one lead to chase down for possible private ranch access near rapid city.

We have 3 points each, and as I understand it, that 3rd point doesn't actually get us anything as far as additional chances in the draw or into a higher pool since they still have it as a 2 or higher pool for the first round of drawing.

Any input on units, access, tips for SD? Happy to trade info if I have any that can help, and now I live in ID so I have going for me.

Anyone ever put in for any of the easier to draw whitetail tags as a second choice?
 

BrettKoenecke

Member
Jun 28, 2013
137
5
1. The deer are doing fine West River. It would take a huge broad catastrophe to alter that general proposition. In most if not all cases, the deer can and will migrate out of a bad situation and into a better one, all things being equal.
2. I would suggest you line up access to private land in order to justify your trip. I would not leave Idaho to hunt public land here, but you might think otherwise and that is entirely up to you. We do not have large blocks of public land sitting idle waiting for you. You'll be in substantial competition with residents everywhere you go on public land. I don't mean to be a downer but that is fact.
3. All the areas you have listed are good ones. 27 is kind of a sleeper, not a lot of residents going down there; 35 is a place that just attracts a lot of people year in and out.
4. You might think of getting a tribal license at Lower Brule or Cheyenne River instead as they seem to come with access to good property and exclude residents who are not tribal members.
5. Is your goal to get a whitetail or a mule deer? If you want a whitetail, then I suggest looking counties with river bottoms, such as along the Cheyenne, White and Bad rivers. If you want a mule deer, then the units you list are good. Perkins County will have more of a mix of the two. We had guys this year in 35 with whitetail tags who couldn't fill them...not a lot of them around up there.

PM me for more
 

johnsd16

Active Member
Mar 16, 2014
353
3
N Idaho
Thanks for the reply. We would be after mule deer primarily, but wouldn't be against a unit that has more of a mix, and would probably tag any whitetail in the 130"+ range. We are doing this primarily as a change of scenery and it is just fun to hunt new places. We anticipate more pressure than SE MT and are not looking for 180" deer. Basically same goals as what we do in MT which is mature bucks.

The tribal license is an interesting thing I will have to look into more.
 

oked

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
2
0
I seen they changed the point system to a points cubed system . this will greatly increase odds of drawing for people like me. I have 7 points now. I hope to draw a unit 35lL tag this year. if u take the 7 pints I have plus one for 2018 makes 8 cubed would be 512 points whereas someone with 4 points cubed would have 64 points if I read the email from south Dakota game,fish,and parks right.
 

johnsd16

Active Member
Mar 16, 2014
353
3
N Idaho
I seen they changed the point system to a points cubed system . this will greatly increase odds of drawing for people like me. I have 7 points now. I hope to draw a unit 35lL tag this year. if u take the 7 pints I have plus one for 2018 makes 8 cubed would be 512 points whereas someone with 4 points cubed would have 64 points if I read the email from south Dakota game,fish,and parks right.
Yep, with 3 points we may hold off this year and just keep building to maybe shoot for that exact unit down the road.
 

NDguy

Active Member
Aug 12, 2016
206
75
I seen they changed the point system to a points cubed system . this will greatly increase odds of drawing for people like me. I have 7 points now. I hope to draw a unit 35lL tag this year. if u take the 7 pints I have plus one for 2018 makes 8 cubed would be 512 points whereas someone with 4 points cubed would have 64 points if I read the email from south Dakota game,fish,and parks right.
They switched to a cube system? Starting in 2018?
 

BrettKoenecke

Member
Jun 28, 2013
137
5
I think for most WR deer situations 3 points cubed will be more than enough. The tag is generally drawn every other year and I doubt that cubing will change that general proposition.
 

Horsenhike

Very Active Member
Nov 11, 2015
668
0
Eastern SD
I think for most WR deer situations 3 points cubed will be more than enough. The tag is generally drawn every other year and I doubt that cubing will change that general proposition.
For all the high value Any Deer tags you need to have 2 points minimum to even be in a draw that has tags. This points cubing is going to push the whole scenario further and most people will need 3 or more to draw. My unit last year had about 90 more people applying than drew tags. They and a whole bunch more will apply this year. SDGFP doesn't show us the point totals for the deer draw, so all we can do is guess to the effect this will have.
 

Kurtr

New Member
Jan 20, 2016
33
0
Mobridge, sd
53a is good i used to go there and once off the trails you wont see another person. I hunt all public land and very rarely do i see any other people in the counties i am in. On cheyene river reservation you still need permission to hunt tribal land there are big deer there but it comes with its challenges also. You could look at standing rock but that sells out fast and i dont know if it is worth the cost. By the second week of the season lots of locals have lost intrest and you will see less traffic. The winter has been great this year it is 40 right now and no snow but that could change but over the deer should be doing good. How is the winter out there i have hunted the Riggins area the last two years and have to say your state is beautiful.
 

johnsd16

Active Member
Mar 16, 2014
353
3
N Idaho
I looked a little into some of the reservations and I doubt we will go that route. That’s good that the winter has been mild in terms of snow. This is my first winter here and it seems pretty mild. Snow is basically gone in town in Hayden and is totally gone in CDA. Seems like a ton of snow up high but down low seems really easy for the critters. Lots of rain and overall moisture so we will see.
 

skyhigh

New Member
Feb 12, 2018
6
0
SD
I have archery hunted and worked quite a bit in the NW corner of the state, feel free to PM me, would be happy to give you some info.