Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

Deer, ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, and gray partridge may be hunted on Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in accordance with state Sand Lake Refuge specific regulations. A Sand Lake Refuge deer license, issued by the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, is required to hunt deer on the refuge with a rifle or muzzleloader. There is now a Youth Deer Hunting season on parts of Sand Lake NWR as of 2023, see details below. Hunters with a state-issued archery license may hunt deer on the refuge during the refuge archery season, which his split into two periods to avoid overlap with gun hunters. The Refuge made some adjustments to the road closures in 2022, which are detailed below. Hunters are allowed to drive on all refuge roads during designated times to retrieve harvested deer. The refuge also offers a late-season upland game bird hunt that begins after the deer rifle seasons close. This December season has become a traditional “Second Opening Day” for many hunters who are seeking the challenge of hunting fresh birds in the thousands of acres of heavy cover on the refuge.

Sand Lake Hunting & Fishing Regulations

ALL Refuge gates and roads north of SD HWY 10 will be closed starting September 1st. Traditional deer retrieval regulations will still be in effect and can be found in the Sand Lake Hunting and Fishing Regulations.

ALL Refuge gates and roads south of SD HWY 10 will remain open to all Refuge visitors and user groups, including bowhunters, through November 8th.

*New in 2024* – Two enclosed bale blinds were recently donated to the Refuge.  The blinds are for all Refuge deer hunters to use, but were donated in hopes to increase participation by Youth during the Refuge's 2-week Youth Deer season in September.  One blind will be placed in the Diagonal tree area and the other on the east side near 108th Street.  The blinds cannot be reserved and can be used on a first come-first serve basis.  A map will be posted with exact locations prior to the Youth deer season.  


Resident Archery: September 1st, 2024- November 8th, 2024 and December 9th, 2024 - January 1st, 2025

Non-Resident Archery: October 1st, 2024- November 8th, 2024 and December 9th, 2024 - January 1st, 2025

Youth Deer: September 14, 2024 - September 30, 2024 YOD-13, Refuge is only open north of SD Hwy 10 for this season

Muzzleloader ONLY November 9, 2024 - November 13, 2024 RFD-SL1 

Rifle November 14, 2024 - November 18, 2024 RFD-SL2

Rifle November 19, 2024 - November 24, 2024 RFD-SL3

Muzzleloader ONLY November 25, 2024 – December 1, 2024 RFD-SL4

Rifle December 2, 2024 - December 8, 2024 RFD-SL5

Upland Game

Ring-necked Pheasant December 9, 2024 - January 31, 2025

Sharp-tailed Grouse, Grey Partridge December 9, 2024 – January 31, 2025


After a mild 23-24 winter and excellent spring and early summer nesting conditions, things are looking better now than in recent springs.  Additional updates will be provided in early fall.

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