Gray Wolf Removed from Federal Endangered Species List

PIERRE, S.D. – On January 4, 2021, the gray wolf will be delisted as a federally protected species following 45 years of protection under the Endangered Species Act. This action allows South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) to manage wolves as a predator as defined in state law.

Under GFP’s management authority, trappers, sportsmen and women, landowners and livestock producers will have the ability to harvest gray wolves across the state beginning on January 4, 2021. The same license requirements needed for coyotes are needed to harvest a wolf. These include a predator/varmint license, furbearer license or any resident or nonresident hunting license. To trap a wolf, a furbearer license is required. Landowners on their own land and youth under the age of 16 are exempt from the license requirement.

“Over the past several decades, South Dakota has had a handful of gray wolves killed on both sides of the Missouri River,” said Keith Fisk, program administrator with GFP. “The department suspects the gray wolves that have been present in South Dakota are likely transient animals that have dispersed from populations east and west of the state.”

To gather further information and a DNA sample, the department is requesting anyone who harvests a wolf in South Dakota notify a wildlife conservation officer within 24 hours and that the inspection and sampling by a GFP representative occur within 48 hours.

GFP does not support gray wolf expansion in South Dakota. For more information, please visit