In the last ten years or so, Indian Reservations out West have come on strong as great places to hunt. You've probably heard the names of some of these reservations, too - such as White Mountain Apache Reservation, Jicarilla Apache Reservation, etc. Trouble is, a lot of these reservation hunts are very expensive. Others are fairly cheap but badly run and mediocre in terms of the trophies available. Enter Pine Ridge Sioux Indian Reservation located in the southwest corner of South Dakota. Managed intensively for hunting for the last five years by the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority, this reservation has been open to non-tribal members for only three years. It has good numbers of deer (both whitetails and mule deer) and elk, and trophy quality is improving every year. This is definitely a place to note on your hunting calendar. To be sure, there are not many tags available here for non-tribal members (there were 24 for deer and 12 for non-contained elk in 1999), and they are not what you would call bargain-basement cheap. The deer permits this year are $500 and the elk tags $3,500.
On the positive side, what you get for this amount of money is the right to hunt a huge, well-managed expanse of land either on your own or with a guide. Make no mistake - this place is indeed huge. Pine Ridge Reservation covers 5,000 square miles of huntable land sandwiched between the Nebraska border on the south, Hot Springs and Buffalo Gap National Grassland on the west, and Interstate 90 and Badlands National Park to the north. The land encompassed by the reservation varies from rolling prairies with lots of creek bottoms to pine-timbered mountain terrain and ridges, to steep canyons and draws in the stark badlands. Four-wheel drive is a must here, and hunters need to be in good shape. As for the game, chief enforcement ranger, Terrance Roy, who has been with the Recreation Authority for nine years, says it is both plentiful and of good trophy quality. The Recreation Authority conducts ground surveys each year to determine game population densities, he........(continued)