It is that time of year once again. Get with your buddies, family, or avoid them all, and plan where you want to hunt deer in South Dakota.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks announced the opening of applications for the 2021 deer season. Has been the case since 2019, you will be able to apply for two of the six deer seasons: East River, West River, Black Hills, Custer State Park, Refuge, and Muzzleloader. Archery is not included in these draws.

If you are like most of the state and apply online, you will have until 8:00 AM on June 16 to apply. That is 8:00 in the morning, not in the evening. Don't mess that up. I know someone who did that last year and they got skunked. You only have three weeks to get your application in, don't mess around too long. I am going to wait a bit until the elk draw is run. If I have a prairie elk tag, I won't try for West River.

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Paper applications are still a thing so those will need to be snail mail postmarked by June 11 to be included in the draw.

Again, residents will be limited to the number of tags they can apply for in the first draw. Only two tags may be applied for in the first draw. If both are successful you must wait until draw 3 to apply again. If one or both are unsuccessful in the first draw you can apply in the draw 2 for those. Residents can get a third tag in draw three, and in draw 4 applications are wide open to residents and nonresidents.

Do your homework and use the Hunt Planner on the GFP website. Draw and success statistics are not always up to date, but even if they are a year old they will help. Also plan on buying points. There are a lot of units where you must have one or two or more preference points to draw a tag. If you don't buy points, you will never draw a high-demand tag.

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