If you only want to hunt deer in your home unit, near your house, or on a relative's farm and are not willing to travel more than an hour, just quit reading now. If you missed on your East River deer tag and are bummed about it and really want to hunt, there are thousands of tags you could apply for.

According to the South Dakota GF&P leftover list, there are currently 4,799 East River deer tags available for the second draw in 19 units. Three of the units, east Sully County, Brule County, and Hyde County have buck tags available.

The online deadline for the second draw is 8:00 am on Wednesday, October 3.

Many of the units, especially those with the most licenses left, do not have much public land available to hunt. But if you look at the hunt planner on the GFP website, look for the units with the most public land, then check the leftover list for tags.

I got back into deer hunting in 2012 after a long layoff of almost 20 years. Four years ago was the first time I was unable to draw a tag for Union County to hunt my uncle's farm. I was heartbroken but it was the best thing that could have happened. I didn't care about shooting a buck, I just wanted to hunt. I was able to get doe tags in the second draw and discovered that the hunting is more fun the farther west you go.

"But I can't afford to go west and hunt private land at a lodge!" is an excuse I've heard to not want to go west. I can't afford that either. I've slept in my truck, in a tent, at a friend's house, and in a $50 a night cabin for a place to sleep.

"There are too many hunters on public land and I don't want to fight it," is another excuse. There is competition on public land, no doubt. But if you want to hunt you have better odds if you get a tag and go than if you stay home and pout.


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