Indian reservations

Citori16

Active member
Has anyone hunted Standing Rock or Cheyenne River reservations? Wondering about available ground, ease of hunting, licensing etc
Most discussion on the site seems to be East of the river
 

matto

Active member
I hunted Rosebud about 10 years ago. Obviously what follows might not apply, but I thought you might be interested.
  • Rosebud had a website with its regulations, information, etc., not unlike a state wildlife website.
  • Separate License, ie, SD license was no good on the res, and the res license was no good on non-res.
  • License cost was comparable to a regular SD license.
  • We had to use a tribal guide. More on that below.
  • Season dates were somewhat different, maybe it opened a week earlier?
So that's the basics. For what it's worth, we did not repeat that trip.

Our guide was very young, maybe 19-20? His dad guided for years, and the references provided for the dad were excellent. Several groups of hunters who had been coming back for many, many years. The kid had lots of experience accompanying his dad, but hadn't done a lot of groups on his own. The references all thought highly of the kid too. At the time he was attending trade school in Rapid City to be an electrician and had driven back home the night before our first day. There's a time change in that drive and his phone didn't handle it properly, which made him late for our first day. That's understandable, but the driving described below was a surprise and was what really turned us off.

The paper road maps show the reservations with these tidy, straight-line borders. It's far more checkerboarded than that and extends far beyond the boundaries shown on a typical map. And the land originally given to the tribes wasn't exactly the most productive in the area, or maybe has been managed differently. As a result, we drove long distances between spots. In addition, Mission, SD didn't have much to offer for lodging, so we stayed in Valentine, NE. That added 30+ miles each morning and evening just to rendezvous with the guide. I'm used to doing 250 miles of total driving for a day trip out of Wichita, but 150-200 a day for three days in a row was a lot lore than I was expecting.

The hunting was decent, at best. Can't remember exactly how many we killed, but it we didn't threaten the limit. Not even close. I would have been happy with the success day tripping out of Wichita. But it didn't quite measure up to expectations for an expensive, out-of-state, guided trip.
 

Golden Hour

Well-known member
I hunt on private land within the Cheyenne River Rez each fall. I would contact the tribal game, fish and parks for the most accurate information. There is very little public land in the area I hunt and what little bit is there isn't well-suited for pheasants. You'd likely find sharptail grouse, though. Much of the CRST land is rangeland. There are pockets of pheasants, especially near cropland, but the cropland is localized and is typically privately owned, i.e., not tribal.

Reservations are tricky. Each tribe can have varying rules and regulations. To my knowledge, a license for a given reservation will allow you to hunt tribal trust land, but its not uncommon for ranchers who lease that land for livestock/farming to not be overly welcoming to hunters. You will need a tribal license to hunt tribal trust land.

Matt outlined some of the challenges in hunting on reservations quite well. In addition to the erratic, unmarked roads, even a tiny bit of rain/snow can make traversing them nearly impossible. A couple years ago when deer hunting, the ranch I was at had about 1.5" of rain. We were unable to access much of the ranch during our hunt, even with ATV's. I've never seen a four-wheeler as muddy in my life.

There is good hunting to be had on the reservation, but a local with some insight and understanding is going to be the most valuable asset you can find. I wouldn't want to deter anyone from getting out and exploring, but there is a big difference in headed to (name your favorite east river South Dakota town), getting a hotel and hitting public spots in a 100 mile radius versus headed to a reservation town and figuring out where you'd like to hunt. Best wishes in whatever you decide!
 

Bob Peters

Well-known member
I’ve heard a vehicle is not safe on tribal land. Is it certain reservations? or just internet blabber
I turkey hunted with buddies at the Sisseton reservation. (I still remember seeing a rooster walking in front of me while I was sitting and he jumped up on a log and looked proud as can be). Anyways, my buddies have been going to that one for years and said it is safe. Then they relayed a story of hunting a different reservation nearer the MO River(maybe Chamberlain area), and coming back to the truck around noon some officer of the law drove by and asked "What are you doing?" When they replied "turkey hunting" he said, "you can't leave your car parked here, you're lucky the window wasn't busted out." They never went back to that rez.
 

gjw

Active member
Hey, I live in ND about 50 miles as the crow flies from Standing Rock Rez. So close enough to SD.

I won't hunt there nor do I go there.

All I'll say is, if you want to hunt there.....Good Luck!

Regards,

Greg
 

Wolfchief

Active member
I have hunted Prairie Dogs on the Rosebud in South Dakota and on the Mandan-Arikara Reservation near New Town, ND. (Fort Berthold). At the time we hunted (mid-late 1990's) you did not need an Indian guide. I'm informed that now, one is required, and the fee has been increased several fold from the time we were there. I was surprised, but probably should not have been, to see the abject poverty present in these two Reservations. I am certainly no social worker but it was sobering to see first hand. On the way back home, we stopped for gas at the covenience store right in Mission. What I'm about to tell you next is difficult to believe, but I (and my buddies) swear to you, it's true....
We were filling up at the gas pumps when a Sioux woman came down the street, stopped in front of us, and offered sex to all of us for $5 bucks. We were stunned and said nothing---then she said--"Not 5 bucks? I'll do it for a bag of Lay's potato chips!" Well, the irony of that statement wasn't lost on us, but instead of replying, I paid for the gas and jumped in the truck as we got the hell out of there! No way there would have been a good ending to that story had we done otherwise....I have other Res stories on Crow Creek at FT. Thompson, SD but not as intruiging as that one.....main thing to remember is, these tribes have not forgotten Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, etc. Indian-white relations for the past 300 years are VERY complicated--but short and sweet, they love our money; they just hate like hell to have to deal with us face to face to get it! If you hunt on a reservation, be cautious and stay safe.

And I guess maybe if my family had lived through what they had to, I might just be able to see their point.
 

Citori16

Active member
I have hunted Prairie Dogs on the Rosebud in South Dakota and on the Mandan-Arikara Reservation near New Town, ND. (Fort Berthold). At the time we hunted (mid-late 1990's) you did not need an Indian guide. I'm informed that now, one is required, and the fee has been increased several fold from the time we were there. I was surprised, but probably should not have been, to see the abject poverty present in these two Reservations. I am certainly no social worker but it was sobering to see first hand. On the way back home, we stopped for gas at the covenience store right in Mission. What I'm about to tell you next is difficult to believe, but I (and my buddies) swear to you, it's true....
We were filling up at the gas pumps when a Sioux woman came down the street, stopped in front of us, and offered sex to all of us for $5 bucks. We were stunned and said nothing---then she said--"Not 5 bucks? I'll do it for a bag of Lay's potato chips!" Well, the irony of that statement wasn't lost on us, but instead of replying, I paid for the gas and jumped in the truck as we got the hell out of there! No way there would have been a good ending to that story had we done otherwise....I have other Res stories on Crow Creek at FT. Thompson, SD but not as intruiging as that one.....main thing to remember is, these tribes have not forgotten Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, etc. Indian-white relations for the past 300 years are VERY complicated--but short and sweet, they love our money; they just hate like hell to have to deal with us face to face to get it! If you hunt on a reservation, be cautious and stay safe.

And I guess maybe if my family had lived through what they had to, I might just be able to see their point.
I have hunted the Fort Hall reservation in Idaho for 25 years and have never had a problem. Been stuck a couple of times and will have 5-6 trucks show up with shovels,chains and winches to help- never felt threatened.
 

Wolfchief

Active member
Not all reservations are equal. The Rosebud, Pine Ridge, the Pima reservation near Saceton, AZ, the Crow res at Ft. Thompson and some others are not financially well off. When we hunted at Ft. Thompson in 2018 and 2019, our guide told us not to venture far from the hotel--said it was dangerous. The way he put it was "When you don't have much, you don't have much to lose". There are close to 377 native tribes in the U.S. Some have revenue from oil, minerals, casinos, etc. and some don't.
 

Boch0627

Member
We've hunted the Lower Brule res for the last 12 yrs, never once had an ounce of trouble. License are kind of expensive at 500$ for upland hunting. The Grassrope area is an additional 50$ per day with only 20 hunters per day. There are lots of WIA areas and access to plenty of ground. Food plots and windrows placed on huntable ground scattered throughout the res. Roads could be nasty in extreme weather as alot are gravel but seem to have a good base. We do have a advantage of having a good friend who lives on the res as him and his brother own 14,000 acres. Not alot of pheasant on his place but loaded up with grouse.
We've stayed in the cabins across from the Wildlife dept. and they are set up with kennels and cleaning areas for processing birds. Trouble is there are only 2 cabins and they fill up fast.
 

Naknekm

New member
Hey, I live in ND about 50 miles as the crow flies from Standing Rock Rez. So close enough to SD.

I won't hunt there nor do I go there.

All I'll say is, if you want to hunt there.....Good Luck!

Regards,

Greg
Can you tell us why?
 

gjw

Active member
Can you tell us why?

Well, I don't want to hire a guide who may or may not show up, change his fees that day or have my windows busted out if I don't get a guide.

Couple other things. Google the DAPL protests that my family had to live through. Not fun. Too many incidents to list here.

Standing Rock has some major problems, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic abuse. My question is, where is all that Casino money going? No one knows.

They some darn good hunting land, just not worth the headache.

Best

Greg
 
Stayed in Valentine once. One Saturday night ended that forever. Was using a laundromat in Mobridge and felt sorry for a native and gave him $5 to get a sandwich at subway, soon had a dozen panhandling me. I've heard there are some good places to hunt on reservations in MT, bigger limits with lots of land but never felt the need to take a chance. I've worked in some remote native villages in AK and have experienced reverse discrimination. There are good people everywhere and there are the not so good. I hunt for pleasure and to relax so don't need the stress.
 

Citori16

Active member
Stayed in Valentine once. One Saturday night ended that forever. Was using a laundromat in Mobridge and felt sorry for a native and gave him $5 to get a sandwich at subway, soon had a dozen panhandling me. I've heard there are some good places to hunt on reservations in MT, bigger limits with lots of land but never felt the need to take a chance. I've worked in some remote native villages in AK and have experienced reverse discrimination. There are good people everywhere and there are the not so good. I hunt for pleasure and to relax so don't need the stress.
Sounds like combat pheasant hunting to me. I’ll take a pass on the SD reservations
 
Hunted Sioux Lower Brule one time and at first location a local came busting in on his ATV with a six shooter on hip, yelling at us to get off his land. It was clearly marked as Walk In Hunting and later when I mentioned the incident to the tribal game warden, he replied "that must have been Randy". Next spot similar incident but not threatened with a gun, just yelled at for trespassing which we promptly pointed to the WIH sign and told the person to buzz off. And did I mention a lot of rattlesnakes - wasn't expecting that.
 
Had a nearly identical encounter at Lower Brule. 6 of us were gearing up ready to hit a field when a guy in an old beat up compact pickup comes screeching up spitting gravel everywhere and jumps out cursing us, threatening us, and telling us that we couldn't hunt there. "I don't give a f*** " when we showed him the map (which is actually a well-defined, decent map) that we were clearly in the walk-in. All bluster and intimidation and I felt like knocking the little *uck out, but, had the wildlife office number fresh in my phone and called up Ben (head guy there), and told him what was going on, and given that the 6 of us just paid $500 for the right to hunt, we expected him to send someone over to straighten this guy out. He said he would...and of course, no one ever showed up. We hunted the field anyway, under threats to our vehicles and to us with his deer rifle. Nothing ultimately happened, but, never went back again. Like others have said, I go hunting as an escape to relax. Don't need to deal with that BS.
 

Goosemaster

Well-known member
I've hunted the rez a few times.Good hunting for sure.Nobody messed with the old Ford. I did hear of a brand new suburban sustaining damage. It's kind of wierd out there.
 
Top