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SD Youth Hunting Adventures
 James River Chapter


South Dakota Youth Hunting Adventures was created in 2008 in Rapid City, South Dakota.


In 2018, the James River Chapter of SDYHA was formed, allowing BFLF the opportunity to offer a unique mentoring program specifically designed for young hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Program Goals

  1. Provide youth (ages 12-18) with opportunities to enjoy quality outdoor experiences through hunting and fishing activities

  2. Educate youth about safety and hunting etiquette through partnership with the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks.

  3. Promote shooting sports, hunting, and wildlife conservation to the youth in the state of South Dakota. 

  4. Educate youth on the relationship between hunting and conservation resources and how they go hand-in-hand. 

  5. Promote respect for landowners as conservationists; establishing understanding for what they have done and continue to do to create quality habitat and quantity of game for all hunting experiences. 

  6. Educate and emphasize the role that South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks plays in hunting and conservation in South Dakota. 

Logistics: Land and Supplies

Mentors are expected to teach ethical hunting practices while guiding the young person through the hunting process.


Mentors are not expected to financially support the hunt. BFLF and SDYHA provide each young person with the gear needed to go hunting (boots, gloves, etc.) and also have rifles, shotguns, and bows for the young person to use. Land for shooting practice and hunts are also available thanks to local landowners.

Be a Big Friend

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Big Friend Requirements

Age: At least 21 years old

Application Process:

  • Fully complete and submit the Hunter Mentor Application

  • Provide four personal references who know about your hunting experience

  • Provide proof of a valid driver's license and auto insurance

  • Complete intake interview(s) with BFLF staff

  • Agree to attend and complete all mentor trainings provided by BFLF and SDYHA

*Final approval for all applications is dependent on the successful completion of a criminal background check 

Approved Big Friend Expectations

  • Be able to serve as a positive role model for a child

  • Inform BFLF of any misdemeanor or felony charge, arrest conviction, pardon or any suspended imposition or sentence incurred during the intake process and/or the match - including any/all Game Fish and Parks violations

  • Commit to spending quality learning time with a child as they learn the process of becoming a responsible, safe hunter

  • Commit to meeting the responsibilities of a mentor as outlined in the Mentor Time and Responsibility Commitment List (gone over during the application process)

  • Be free of drug and alcohol abuse or treatment for 3 years

  • Have a valid driver's license, access to an insured vehicle, and proof of insurance. 

  • Agree to not mentor your own child or other relative

Be A Mentor
Apply Here


Get a Big Friend

Little Friend Requirements

To receive services from the Big Friend Little Friend mentoring program, a child must: 

  • Be between the ages of 12 to 16 years old. Youth age out of the program upon turning 18. 

  • Learn safe handling of firearms in the home as in the field. 

  • Develop safe, responsible, and knowledgeable hunting habits

  • Become aware of South Dakota hunting heritage

  • Understand the hunter's role and relationship with wildlife and the land.

  • Become certified by completing the South Dakota Hunter Safety Education course, making him/her eligible to apply for a hunting license

  • Attend ALL hunter safety seminars and gun range sessions hosted by BFLF/SDYHA

Parent Expectations

Here are the expectations BFLF holds for parents whose child is approved and enrolled in SDYHA: 

  • Communicate with the Big Friend to schedule match outings

  • Ensure their child is dressed appropriately for the match outing and has their gear (provided by SDYHA) with them 

  • Talk to the child about the child's time with their Big Friend

  • Be flexible about family plans to accommodate the match relationship

  • Will not use restriction from seeing their Big as punishment

  • Contact the Big Friend immediately if an outing needs to be rescheduled

  • Contact BFLF staff each month for match support

  • Will not send additional children (siblings, cousins, etc.) with their approved child for match outings

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