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The 2023 South Dakota Elk and Bighorn Sheep Application Period Breaks Records for Second Consecutive Year

The 2023 South Dakota Elk and Bighorn Sheep application period has once again set new records for the number of applications for these seasons. This marks the second consecutive year of unprecedented demand for these highly coveted hunting opportunities.

South Dakota residents may apply during a specific time-period each year for the opportunity to be drawn for a limited license for specific seasons that are available. Licenses are drawn in sequence from season to season. The 2023 application period ended May 18, 2023, revealing a remarkable boost in interest, with an 8% increase in applications compared to the previous year, and an astounding 40% surge compared to 2021.

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks (GFP) launched its new licensing and campground reservation system in December 2021 and soon after began to see an increase in Elk and Bighorn Sheep applications. Since the new system launched, Elk applications increased from 37,345 in 2021, to 39,380 in 2022. The Bighorn Sheep applications grew from 8,272 to 11,312 during this same time-period. To the excitement of Brandt and GFP, we have seen yet another successful application period in 2023, totaling over 12,000 Bighorn Sheep and nearly 40,000 Elk applications.

“Customer service is one of our top priorities and working with Brandt we have successfully been able to ensure our customers are aware of these opportunities, are easily able to submit their applications, and ultimately able to get where they want to be, outdoors,” stated Nick Harrington, GFP Communications Manager.

With recent improvements to the users’ experience, targeted emails, and mobile app push notification reminders, the Go Outdoors South Dakota system is providing better communications with sportsmen and women, while driving conservation efforts.