Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Wildland Resources

Committee Chair(s)

Jessop B. Low


Jessop B. Low


The prairie deer region of South Dakota extends west from the Missouri River to the Black Hills. The region borders the states of Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota, and is approximately 40,000 square miles in extent. Biologists believe that present deer numbers on these prairies are similar to those of pre-homestead days. The present large numbers of deer in certain counties have given many prairie ranchers and farmers cause for concern. The region's first deer season (bucks only) in 1952 resulted from earlier increases in mule and whitetail herds. After a closed season in 1953, a hunter's choice of "any deer" for 9 days was in force in 1954, and nearly 5,000 deer were killed throughout the region. This type of hunt was changed to bucks only in 1955 for the same length season. The 3 recent harvests on the prairies increased South Dakota's big-game hunting area from about 3,500 square miles in the Black Hills to nearly 30,000 square miles. Some counties had no open season during the 3 previous harvests.