Get away from crowds in S Dakota?!

kesand72

Active Member
May 5, 2013
373
8
Joliet, Il
Hi! So, I failed to draw a general season Montana deer tag. Went 2 for 2 on the Montana tags I drew in '16 n '17.
Thinking about putting in for S Dakota West River deer with 5 points. There's a unit in Harding County that I'm looking at with a good amount of walk in, and a unit in Perkins County with a good amount of national grassland. Can anyone tell me which county/public hunting access ground would give me a better shot at burning boot leather to get away from crowds, especially road hunters and ATVs? Particularly toward the end of firearm season?
 

Daubs

Active Member
Aug 5, 2016
420
65
Nebraska
Best advice I have received on hunting public...

1. Plan on getting there early
2. Actually arrive 1-2 hours earlier than you planned
3. Put miles on the boots...
4. Get to your spot before the other guys even reach the parking lot
5. Sit tight and let the late arriving hunters push deer to you
6. Make a good, ethical shot
7. Proudly pack your deer out, being sure to walk as close as you can to the other hunters
8. (actually, #7 is just me being a jack-wagon...do your best to NOT let others public hunters know your technique and game plan)

I love hunting high-pressure public land. I see it as a challenge, me vs. mother nature AND me vs. the other guys. Some years I get blanked, some years this happens...

20171111_090650.jpg
 

kesand72

Active Member
May 5, 2013
373
8
Joliet, Il
Thanks for the reply Daubs and great buck!
I spend alot of time hunting public and totally agree with everything you said. Just haven't hunted S Dakota and was wondering if walk in or national grassland would be better for getting away from other hunters.
 

BrettKoenecke

Member
Jun 28, 2013
137
5
You're unlikely to get the experience you seek in either place. That said, I think I might pick Perkins Co over Harding if that is what you're after. I hope it turns out for you.
 

rcfireninja

Active Member
Mar 3, 2014
389
12
Rapid City, SD
You're unlikely to get the experience you seek in either place. That said, I think I might pick Perkins Co over Harding if that is what you're after. I hope it turns out for you.
I agree with Brett. As a nr in SD you are limited for the rifle tags. I would suggest getting an otc archery tag if you bow hunt this year. Then you can learn the public lands we offer here while going after a mule deer. Then in the future you would know what units you could get away from everyone in during the rifle season. I like to bowhunt November in a very popular unit, I use the road hunters to my advantage pushing the deer further into where I?m already at.


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tdcour

Veteran member
Feb 28, 2013
1,100
26
Central Kansas
From my experience when I lived there, I would archery hunt the week before rifle as the rut is going pretty good then. We would then switch to rifle if we had tags, but knew that we just wouldn't have much fun opening weekend. If you hunt the middle of the week its pretty much a ghost town. Lots of deer get pushed back on private, but still some on public for sure. We hunted the grasslands in a different county and didn't like it as much as other Walk In areas. They are big and expansive, but not much cover and we never saw lots of deer or we saw them a long ways away with no way to get there. We always opted for hunting more of the rugged terrain and getting deeper than everyone else. Don't leave any stone unturned. Shot a 170" WT on a small 80 acre piece of ground I'm pretty sure no one else had thought to check.
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
What size buck in NW S Dakota on public ground should a guy not pass on?
Mule deer or whitetail...
The one that you would be happy to go home with even if it isn't the biggest in the woods. If you see one you like, shoot it. Chances are you may never see him again or someone else will shoot it. I think alot of people get hung up on score. I do it to myself in premium areas i draw tags for, but when i hunt in the BlackHills i usually hold out for a big 4 point or most 5 pointers as they are usually mature by then. Im talking whitetails in the Hills. I think the biggest one i have shot scored around 125, but i have seen bigger and have looked at bigger some other hunters have shot. Depends on how much time you have to hunt and area. I hunt all on Forest Service up there with my father when i can draw the non-resident tag. its a fun hunt and time to catch up with my dad who lives in Sturgis, the deer hunting is just a bonus for us.
 

BrettKoenecke

Member
Jun 28, 2013
137
5
Once the sun's up on opening day, there won't be a bunch of bucks on public land waiting for you to come and find them. Not a lot to be gained by holding out, generally speaking. I would say you should hold out for a mature buck. I myself see no sense in shooting an immature buck, although I don't criticize others for it. Just as well take a doe as shoot a yearling buck, right?
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
Mature deer are few and far between in SD on public. Due to their 9 buck tag management...
This was the last BlackHills buck I shot in 2015. On public land about 95 yards off a Forest Service Rd. He looks fairly mature to me!

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kesand72

Active Member
May 5, 2013
373
8
Joliet, Il
Once the sun's up on opening day, there won't be a bunch of bucks on public land waiting for you to come and find them. Not a lot to be gained by holding out, generally speaking. I would say you should hold out for a mature buck. I myself see no sense in shooting an immature buck, although I don't criticize others for it. Just as well take a doe as shoot a yearling buck, right?
I totally agree Brett. I'm actually planning on hunting Thanksgiving week, as I'll be tied up with hunting at home and work before then. Hopefully things will have settled down from the opener by then n I'll be able to stretch my legs n see a few nice bucks.
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
Yes, i tried twice to send it from my phone and it wont send. it has me pick the picture and when i hit send it acts like nothing even happens and i cant see a preview of it. any help fellas?
 

CODAK

Active Member
Aug 8, 2016
381
333
Johnstown, CO
Make sure to click the file and see the image upload into the text box. As for BH deer, I think they look big because their bodies are so damn small ;)
 

fackelberry

Active Member
Aug 27, 2013
276
4
Wyoming
Make sure to click the file and see the image upload into the text box. As for BH deer, I think they look big because their bodies are so damn small ;)
Ok I think I got it! Here is the last BlackHills buck I shot.IMG_20151121_082343875.jpg

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