41-8-17. Night-vision equipment and artificial light in hunting--Prohibitions--Exceptions--Violation as misdemeanor.

Between sunset and sunrise, no person may use or possess night-vision equipment or throw or cast the rays of a spotlight, motor vehicle headlight, or other artificial light onto a highway, or into any field, pasture, woodland, forest, or prairie, for the purpose of spotting, locating, taking, attempting to take, or hunting any animal, if the person is in possession or control of a firearm, bow, or other implement by which an animal could be killed. The prohibitions set forth in this section do not apply to a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's duties.

Notwithstanding the prohibitions set forth in this section:

(1)    A person may use a handheld light, while the person is on foot, to take raccoons after the raccoons have been treed by dogs, or to engage in trapping activity and to take trapped fur-bearing animals;

(2)    A person who owns or occupies land and up to two guests accompanying the person may use an artificial light and night vision equipment on the person's land, to take jackrabbits, coyotes, beaver during its hunting season, foxes, raccoons, opossums, badgers, skunks, and rodents, provided they use:

(a)    A shotgun and shotshells; or

(b)    A firearm and a cartridge having a bullet diameter of less than .225 inches;

(3)    If a person who is at least eighteen years of age owns or occupies land, that person may grant permission for up to two guests to hunt unaccompanied on that person's land for jackrabbits, coyotes, beaver during its hunting season, foxes, raccoons, opossums, badgers, skunks, and rodents, and such guests may use night vision equipment, provided they use:

(a)    A shotgun and shot shells; or

(b)    A firearm and a cartridge having a bullet diameter of less than .225 inches; and

(4)    An employee of the Department of Game, Fish and Parks may, while performing animal damage control, use night-vision equipment and artificial lights, provided the employee obtains permission from the person owning or occupying the land prior to taking an animal that is causing damage.

For purposes of this section, "artificial light" means a man-made light or lighting device that projects lumination for an unaided eye.

For purposes of this section, "night-vision equipment" means an electronic or battery-powered device that enhances a person's ability to see in the dark.

A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SDC 1939, § 25.0702 as added by SL 1943, ch 96; SL 1967, ch 89, § 2; SL 1977, ch 190, § 561; SL 1982, ch 289, § 1; SL 1985, ch 327; SL 1991, ch 337, § 47; SL 1991, ch 341; SL 2000, ch 208, § 1; SL 2014, ch 201, § 1; SL 2016, ch 209, § 1; SL 2018, ch 253, § 1; SL 2020, ch 186, § 1.