PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) wants to remind individuals that gray wolves remain protected under the federal Endangered Species Act across the entire state. This federal protection has been in place since 2014.
Over the years, South Dakota has had gray wolves incidentally killed on both sides of the Missouri River.
South Dakota does not have suitable habitat to maintain a population of wolves. Transient wolves from surrounding states have been documented traveling through South Dakota, but are very uncommon.
Sportsmen and women as well as fur harvesters are reminded that gray wolves may occur in South Dakota and need to exercise caution if they believe a gray wolf is in the area. Hunters need to clearly identify their target before using their firearms when hunting coyotes. If a suspected wolf is in a trap, individuals should contact GFP officials immediately. The federal protections of the Endangered Species Act prohibit the take of a gray wolf unless it is threatening human life.
GFP does not have any plans or intentions of facilitating the establishment of gray wolves in South Dakota.
If livestock producers have concerns with a suspected wolf near their operation, they should contact a local GFP wildlife damage specialist or regional office. If the livestock loss is determined to have been possibly killed by a gray wolf, the department will work directly with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address the situation.
For more information or to learn more about identifying gray wolves and coyotes, please visit gfp.sd.gov/wolf.