The Latest On Custer State Park Bison Hunting In South Dakota


Published: August - 2008

Longtime subscribers will remember some reports we published about 10 years ago regarding an emerging free-range bison hunt in Custer State Park, South Dakota. (See Article ID 139 and Hunt Report No. 2353.) At the time, the hunting program there had been in operation for three years, and there were four bulls from Custer State Park listed among the all-time top 25 bison in the Boone & Crockett Record Book. Today, there are 16 that rank in the top 50. According to Custer's Buffalo Herd Manager Chad Kremer, over 80 percent of the trophies taken at Custer State Park actually exceed the B & C minimum score of 115 points. Among the latest record book bulls harvested there is subscriber Dave Baxter's trophy, taken this past December and officially scoring 126 6/8. It comfortably surpasses the required minimum and ranks among the top 30 animals. (See photo in the Trophy Gallery section of our web site.)

According to Baxter's report, there have been a couple of changes to this hunt program since we last reported on it. Perhaps the biggest change is that the park has eliminated some five-day, horseback hunts based from a teepee camp that hunters previously could book outright for $10,000 without going through the lottery to draw a permit. Kremer tells us that the five-day program just did not generate enough interest, so now all bison hunters in Custer State Park must apply for a permit in the annual lottery operated by the park.

There are some 1,200 bison roaming the park's 71,000 acres. About 75 of those are breeding bulls three years and older. Approximately 10 to 15 of those are trophy bulls, according to Kremer. The park offers permits for 10 of those annually. With such a low number of permits available, you might think the chance of drawing would be near impossible. Not so. Less than 100 hunters apply each year for the chance to hunt these animals, creating excellent odds of being drawn. In 2007, 70 hunters applied, which would give applicants a one in seven chance of drawing. However,........(continued)

 
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