GFP News | January Commission Press Releases

GFP COMMISSION PROPOSES CHANGE TO DUCK HUNTING START DATES

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed to change the start date of the Low Plains Middle and Low Plains North duck hunting zones at their December meeting.

The proposed change would modify the start date of these two zones from the last Saturday of September to the Saturday closest to September 24.

The change would provide hunters an earlier start to the season in some years to take advantage of local breeding ducks.

The commission also proposed to decrease the daily limit of scaup from 3 to 1. This proposed change came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The proposal would have the following season dates and daily limits:

Season Dates and Open Areas:

High Plains Zone: Oct. 10, 2020 – Jan. 14, 2021

Low Plains North & Low Plains Middle Zone: Sept. 26 – Dec. 8, 2020

Low Plains South Zone: Oct. 24, 2020 – Jan. 5, 2021

Daily Limits:

Ducks: 6

The duck limit may be comprised of no more that 5 mallards (which may include no more than 2 hens), 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 1 pintail and 1 scaup.

2 Bonus blue-winged teal (first 16 days of the season only)

Low Plains North & Low Plains Middle Zones: Sept. 26 – Oct. 11, 2020

Low Plains South Zone: Oct. 24 – Nov. 8, 2020

High Plains Zone: Oct. 10 – 25, 2020

Coots: 15

Mergansers: 5 (may include no more than 2 hooded mergansers)

Possession Limits: Three times the daily bag limits

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Red Rossa Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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GFP COMMISSION PROPOSES TO REMOVE WATER SAFETY ZONE ON LAKE NORDEN AND MINA LAKE

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed to remove a water safety zone on Lake Norden in Hamlin County and Mina Lake in Edmunds County.

The proposal would remove the no wake zone near the dam at the Mina Lake Recreation Area. There is no active swimming beach located at this location and there has been no public desire for a buoyed safety zone in this area.

The proposal would also remove the no wake zone near the spillway area at the Lake Norden Recreation Area. Recreational use of this swimming area is limited, and several lake homeowners are in support of this proposal.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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GFP COMMISSION PROPOSES ELK SEASONS

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed minor changes to the number of elk licenses available in the 2020 and 2021 hunting seasons. The intent of the changes is to allow an opportunity for adjustments to be made at finalization based on the results of the upcoming Black Hills aerial survey to maximize hunter opportunity and meet population objectives identified in the elk management plan.

The proposal would allow for a total of 430 “any elk” and 715 “antlerless elk” licenses for the Black Hills firearm season and 147 “any elk” and 85 “antlerless elk” for the Black Hills archery season for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

The commission proposed reducing the number of Custer State Park “any elk” licenses from 8 to 7, and reduce the number of Custer State Park Early Archery “any elk” licenses from 3 to 2. There will be no Custer State Park “antlerless” elk licenses available for 2020 or 2021.

Along with the Custer State Park season recommendations, the commission proposed to remove the mandatory chronic wasting disease (CWD) sample submission of deer or elk harvested in the park. Hunters would still be able to voluntarily submit their animals for testing.

The commission also proposed 78 “any elk” and 75 “antlerless elk” licenses for the Prairie Elk hunting season. In addition, the commission proposed a new prairie elk hunting unit (PRE-WRA) that would include those portions of the state west of the Missouri River not associated with another prairie elk unit excluding Corson, Dewey, Oglala Lakota, Todd and Ziebach counties with season dates of Sept. 1 – Dec. 31.

Other proposed modifications to the Prairie Elk hunting season include:

Modify those portions of Unit 9 in Butte and Lawrence counties to include that area within a line beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highways 85 and 212, then east on Highway 212 to Whitewood Valley Road, then south on Whitewood Valley Road to Interstate 90, then west on Interstate 90 to U.S. Highway 85, then north on U.S. Highway 85 to point of origin. That portion of Unit 9 in Meade County would remain unchanged.
Modify Unit 15A to include those portions of Butte and Lawrence counties within a line beginning at the junction of the South Dakota-Wyoming border, east on Sourdough Road to U.S. Highway 85, then south on U.S. Highway 85 to Interstate 90, then west on Interstate 90 to the South Dakota-Wyoming border, then north to the point of origin.
Modify Unit 27A to include all of Fall River County not included in BHE-H3.
Eliminate Unit 30A (portions of Gregory County) and include this geographic area into the West River prairie unit.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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BIGHORN SHEEP SEASON PROPOSED WITH INCREASED OPPORTUNITIES

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed up to a total of eight bighorn sheep licenses available in four hunting units for the 2020 season.

The proposal would also establish a new hunting unit in Custer and Pennington counties, modify an existing hunting unit for Custer and Fall River counties and re-establish a hunting unit in Custer State Park.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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GFP COMMISSION CONSIDERS CHANGES TO TUNDRA SWAN, YOUTH WATERFOWL SEASONS

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission discussed changes to two waterfowl hunting seasons at their January meeting.

The commission proposal would reduce the number of available resident tundra swan hunting licenses from 1,425 to 1,100 and nonresident licenses from 250 to 200. This reduction in licenses comes from the recommendation of the Central Flyway Council and was adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The commission also proposed to move the 2020 Youth Waterfowl Season. The change would align with the federal framework that allows the season to begin the Saturday closest to 14 days prior to September 24. The upcoming youth waterfowl season would be Sept. 12-13, 2020.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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GFP COMMISSION TO CONSIDER FLATHEAD CATFISH LENGTH LIMIT RESTRICTION

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission has proposed to establish a length limit on flathead catfish. A final determination whether to move forward with the proposed change will occur at their March meeting.

The new rule would allow for one flathead catfish over 28 inches per day on inland waters. The original proposal was made at the November commission meeting and included all waters in the state, including border waters, and originated from the public petition process. At their December meeting, the commission reduced the scope of the change to inland waters only, instead of statewide.

John Lott, Fisheries Chief, informed the commission that a meeting will be taking place in February to discuss catfish management with Iowa and Nebraska. The goal of the meeting will be to develop common regulations for catfish on border waters.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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COMMISSION CONSIDERS THE USE OF RIFLES FOR WEST RIVER, PRIVATE LAND SPRING TURKEY SEASON

PIERRE, S.D. – At their December meeting, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission accepted a proposal that would allow the use of rifles to hunt turkeys on private land during the West River spring turkey season.

The commission wishes to hear additional public comment on this proposal and plans to take action at their next meeting, which will be held March 5-6 in Pierre.

The proposal came at the request of one of the commissioners.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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GFP Commission to Hear Public Comment on Proposed Nest Predator Bounty Program for 2020

PIERRE, S.D. – At their January meeting, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission was provided a comprehensive summary on a survey conducted around the 2019 Nest Predator Bounty Program. The independent survey was conducted by Responsive Management and revealed that 83% of the general public supported the operation of the Nest Predator Bounty Program. The full report is available on the GFP website.

With this information, and recognizing the Department of Game, Fish and Parks wishes to conduct the Nest Predator Bounty Program in 2020, the commission adopted a resolution to propose the following for public consideration:

An expenditure for five dollars per tail, not to exceed $250,000 for the bounty of nest predators.
Participants under the age of 18 and landowners harvesting nest predators from their own land will not be required to have a license. All other participants must have a hunting, fishing, or furbearer license.
The Nest Predator Bounty Program shall be operated from April 1 to July 1, 2020, to coincide with the primary nesting season of pheasants, ducks, and other ground nesting birds.
The method of take is expanded to include shooting of nest predators in addition to trapping.
After considering comments, the commission will determine if there will be a 2020 Bounty Program and, if so, lay out the final parameters at the March 5, 2020 commission meeting as well as a method to identify and monitor goals of the program. Some of these goals include but are not limited to:

Remove up to 50,000 nest predators from the landscape;
Increase furbearer license sales by 5 percent;
Double participation in ETHICS SD;
Have 20 percent of bounty participants be under the age of 18.
To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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COMMISSION EXPANDS ENDEMIC AREA RELATED TO CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission added several deer and elk hunting units to the chronic wasting disease (CWD) endemic area. Results from surveillance efforts have detected CWD in seven new counties this past fall.

The commission added the following hunting units to the CWD endemic area and as a result, intrastate transportation and carcass disposal requirements will become effective for the 2020 deer and elk hunting seasons:

Added deer hunting units WRD-11B, WRD-15B, WRD-35A, WRD-35L within WRD-35A, WRD-31A, WRD-39B, WRD-49A, WRD-49B, WRD-60A, RFD-LC1 and RFD-LC2.
Added elk hunting units BHE-H1, PRE-09A, PRE-11A, PRE-11B, PRE-11C, PRE-11D, PRE-35A and PRE-WRA.
Additional information on CWD including new regulations for the 2020 deer and elk hunting seasons can be found at gfp.sd.gov/chronic-wasting-disease.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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Commission Accepts Petition to establish 500 Nonresident Special Buck Licenses East River

PIERRE, S.D. – At their January meeting, the Game, Fish and Parks Commission accepted a petition submitted by a member of the public to establish 500 nonresident, special buck licenses East River.

Currently, there are 500 special buck licenses allocated to residents that must be used on private land and are good for “any deer.”

The additional 500 licenses would be good for “any whitetail,” valid only on private land, and come at a price of $554 for nonresidents. The petition further outlined that this allocation would be annual, that applicants must have permission from a landowner or lessee of private land before applying, and that the applicant must provide the name and phone number of the person with whom they have permission to hunt.

The petition was adopted as written by the commission as a proposal. Public comment is encouraged, and the commission will take final action on this proposal at the March 5-6 commission meeting in Pierre, South Dakota.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held March 5 at 2 p.m. CST at the Ramkota Convention Center in Pierre. Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).