Commissioner Brock Greenfield

Surface - Other Uses

Hunting Information

What Are School Lands?

School lands are "state lands," they are not the same as "public lands" or federal lands managed by the federal land management agencies or the State Game Production Areas managed by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department. Almost all of the 750,000 + acres of South Dakota's school lands are "trust lands" granted to the state on its admission to the Union. These trust lands are managed to produce income for the support of the state's schools, universities and other endowed institutions.

Who should be contacted regarding recreational use of State school lands?

While lessee permission is not required to use school land for recreational purposes, users are encouraged to notify leaseholders if they have questions on legal access. Notifying the lessee can often help avoid trespassing and other problems. Many of South Dakota's school lands are intermingled with, surrounded by, or fenced in with private land and are indistinguishable from private land. It is the responsibility of the recreational user to know if they are on public land. If you are on private land without permission, you could be charged with trespassing.

How Should I access state school lands?

School lands are available to the public for hunting and fishing. These lands must be legally accessed on public roads. Anyone crossing private land to reach school land must have the permission of the private landowner. Off-road vehicle use is prohibited. No person may engage in hunting in any standing, unharvested crops on any school and public lands, unless the crop is designated for conservation or wildlife habitat. No hunting on public road rights-of-way within 660 feet of livestock, occupied homes, churches or schoolhouses.

Public use of state trust land is a privilege

Currently enjoyed by many users. When this privilege is abused, public use of school lands may be restricted. Be a responsible school land user. Adhere to the rules and regulations of the Game, Fish and Parks Department and all state laws. Exercise basic common sense, courtesy and consideration for others, and you will be doing your part to help protect South Dakota's state trust lands and keep them open to recreational use.

For Hunting Maps Contact the Office of School and Public Lands call 605-773-3303.