Deer Management Program

The deer harvest application is now open for 2022. 

In response to complaints about the increasing number of deer in the city, as well as aggressive behavior by deer in parks and along trails, and an increase in the number of vehicle/deer traffic accidents, the City of Sturgis developed a Comprehensive Deer Control Plan in 2018. 

Each year, under strict guidelines regulated by the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks (GF&P), the Police Department is required to complete a Deer Population Study.  Based on this study, the GF&P determines if the deer population should be curtailed.  If a reduction is determined, a specific number of deer licenses are issued to the Police Department and the harvest takes place.  The goal of the program is to maintain a healthy and viable urban deer population.  

All deer harvested through this program are given to residents who submit an application in advance of the harvest.  The number of deer harvested is limited to the number of licenses issued by the GF&P.  The number of applicants who receive an animal will be determined by the number of applications received.  This program is open to only those residents living in Sturgis.   

The following options are available to residents who would like to receive deer meat:

1.  Entire Animal - (priority) Those recipients agreeing to take an entire carcass are responsible for picking up the animal at a designated location when the Police Department makes notification that a deer is ready. Recipients are also responsible for all costs associated with processing the animal. Processing costs generally range from $60 to $100 per animal, depending on special processing requests. If you have questions about processing and/or fees, please call a local meat processor. Fees are paid directly to the processor. Recipients may also opt to process the deer themselves.
2. 10# Pre-Packaged (frozen) - If not enough recipients are willing to take entire carcasses, the City will take the remaining animals to a local processor to be ground and frozen in 10 lb. packages.  These will be made available to applicants who have chosen this option, at no charge (limit 1 per family). 

Note:  Those willing to take an entire carcass will be given preference over those only wanting a 10 lb package.  Any meat remaining unclaimed at the end of the program will be taken to the Kiwanis Food Pantry for distribution. 

NOTIFICATION - Once the harvest begins, the Police Department will contact the first name on the Recipient List that applied for an entire animal.  They will coordinate the time and central location where the deer can be picked up. This call will likely take place the same day as the harvest.  If a recipient is not able to take delivery of a carcass when called, their name will be moved to the bottom of the list. The likelihood of getting called a second time will depend on the number of applications and the number of deer tags issued by the GF&P for this program.  If you indicate you want a whole carcass, you MUST be able to pick up the animal at the distribution site and be prepared to pay the processing fee or have arrangements in place for the processing.   Processing fees are paid directly to the processor.  Individuals may opt to process the animal themselves.  The Police Department will not provide testing for Wasting Disease, however, recipients can take the deer head to the testing facility at their own expense if they like.  If you can not meet these obligations, please do not apply.

This program is only open to residents of Sturgis.  There is a limit of one animal per household. 

Questions about this program or how to apply can be directed to the Sturgis Police Department at 605-347-5070.