Hunting Accompaniment Rule Modified

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

South Dakota’s long-standing big game "accompaniment" rule has been modified by the Game, Fish and Parks Commission.

"Formerly, the accompaniment rule required those hunting together for big game animals to have licenses that were valid for the same season and unit," said GFP Law Program Administrator Dave McCrea. "Now, under the modified rule, those who are legally licensed for any firearm big game season may hunt together in the field if their licenses are valid for the same geographical area and time of year." A firearm big game hunter is defined as anyone having a license that authorizes the licensee to use a firearm, including a muzzleloader firearm, for taking big game.

A similar provision allows archery-only licensees to hunt together in the field if their archery licenses are valid for the same geographical area and time of year.

McCrea explained that the accompaniment rule was drafted in the 1970s when big game and pheasant seasons first overlapped. "There were safety and enforcement concerns with the mix of small game and big game hunters," he said. "The rule has been effective, but the number of overlapping big game season occurring now placed the accompaniment rule in need of updating. We want to preserve the primary safety and enforcement precautions that the original rule brought us, but relax the rule somewhat to allow hunters to hunt together in the field if their firearm big game licenses and archery-only big game licenses are valid for the same geographical area and time of year."

An additional rule change allows those who carry a pistol and possess a valid concealed pistol permit to accompany big game hunters. A similar provision for licensed archery hunters also allows accompaniment by individuals carrying a pistol as long as they possess a concealed pistol permit. "However, a person who is licensed for archery hunting may not be accompanied by another person who is carrying a firearm other than the exception for a concealed pistol with permit," McCrea noted. "Additionally, an archery-only hunter may not be accompanied by another person carrying archery equipment unless that person has a current archery big game hunting license valid for the same geographical area and time of year as the first person."

In summary, unless carrying a concealed pistol permit and a pistol, firearm big game hunters must have firearm big game licenses valid for the same time and area in order to legally accompany one another while hunting. Archery-only hunters must have an archery big game license valid for the same time and area in order to legally accompany one another while archery hunting.