I've been thinking about what I want to do this fall for big game hunting, but I don't know exactly how it's going to play out. If you haven't been thinking about what your hunting plans for the fall are, you better start calling your hunting buddies and figure it out.

Applications for the 2020 deer season in South Dakota are now open. Just apply on the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks website. The deadline to apply online is 8:00 a.m. on June 17. Or you can snail mail your app postmarked by June 12, but who mails it in?

The new draw system that was so controversial two years ago has changed the dates of when you can apply, and what you can apply for. You are allowed to apply for two of the six seasons; the Black Hills, East River (and special buck), West River (and special buck), Refuge Deer, Muzzleloader, and Custer State Park.

This will mean I have some decisions to make. I want to chase antelope in Harding County again, doe tags of course since I drew last year, but my wife and kids liked the meat better than deer. That's in October so not a big infringement on plans other than vacation time and money.

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My dad says he also wants to hunt for mule deer west river, which I would like to accompany him for. I have two points for the Black Hills so I am assured an Any Whitetail tag out there. But I also want to go back to one of my favorite spots East River spots I haven't been to for a few years where I've hunted a lot and know what's going on to get myself a great shot at a nice meaty buck.

I love using the GFP's Hunt Planner to figure out what my draw odds and chances of success hunting will be. But they still haven't updated it with 2019 data so the best you do is guess odds based on 2018.

The numbers of tags in each unit look like they are similar to 2019 for the most part, but there is the added red text on the pdf/paper application that points out many units West River are in the CWD endemic area and special rules for carcass disposal are in effect. It won't stop me from applying to any of those units, but I will be very careful with the carcass.

Cooking Venison

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