The toughest hunting tags to draw in South Dakota are officially up for grabs once again.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks announced that applications are now open for elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. Online applications can be made right now on the GFP website. Online applications will close on May 19 at 8 am central time.

The quirky thing about the elk draw in South Dakota, along with mountain goat and bighorn sheep, is that you can get lucky in the draw with no points at all. Your odds are terrible, but it has happened. I talked to someone who claimed they drew a bull elk tag with no points. I assume he was truthful because of his sheepish, guilt-ridden grin on his face.

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Looking at the draw statistics from 2020, in-unit H3 there was one person who drew any elk tag with only five points. Conversely, there was a hunter with 22 points who did not draw a tag. That hardly seems fair, but if no one had a chance on the bottom end, one could argue there is no point in applying.

I don't know the right solution for the point creeps going on with elk tags in South Dakota. More elk is the only thing that would fix it, but that's not the right answer. That's why I cashed in my two Black Hills elk points in 2018 and drew a guaranteed cow tag. I didn't want to wait until I was in my 60's to draw a bull tag, which the antlers of I don't have room in my house to hang. I just want the meat. Maybe I'll get my prairie elk tag this year?

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