South Dakota Deer News
... The division’s big-game biologists and regional managers will be tapping the expertise of a University of Montana specialist, Paul Lukacs, to develop a computer database system for deer population work... Human dimensions — essentially opinions of sportsmen and others — will be integrated to a greater degree into management planning...

White-tailed deer survival study April 3, 2014 South Dakota, Public Opinion
...  A helicopter with trained wildlife wranglers dangled in the sky to assist with capturing 50 deer for the Department of Game, Fish and Parks’ (GFP) new doe and fawn survival study.  “Over the last few weeks, we connected with landowners in the two counties for permission to do the study on their land, and signed up over 50,000 acres for the study,” said Julie DeJong, regional wildlife manager....

Bad weather, habitat loss hard on deer, pheasants March 29, 2014 South Dakota, Aberdeen News
...  decline in pheasant and deer numbers ... Habitat and weather have played a role in the declining numbers, according to Wildlife Conservation Officer Josh Thompson ...

... our objectives were to construct logistic regression models to estimate mule deer sightability and evaluate factors contributing to visibility bias during spring and winter survey flights in the grasslands habitats of central South Dakota and the rugged river 
break habitats of western South Dakota...

Helicopter helps with doe and fawn survival study March 24, 2014 South Dakota, CT Post
... California-based Native Range Capture Services was hired to assist South Dakota wildlife biologists with capturing does to study their survival ...

Bowhunters seeking earlier deer season March 7, 2014 South Dakota, Rapid City Journal
...  the South Dakota Bowhunters organization asking that the season open on the second Saturday of September... A public hearing on the proposed change will be held at 2 p.m. on April 3 when the commission next meets at Cedar Shores Resort at Oacoma...

Shed hunting February 20, 2014 South Dakota, Watertown Public Opinion · 
... Deer drop their antlers every winter and grow new ones each spring. I think deer normally lose their antlers between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15, however, every year is a little bit different. This year I am finding that most deer have kept them longer. There is some literature that supports that deer will shed earlier when they are stressed ...

Whitetails Unlimited helps with area studies February 7, 2014 South Dakota,
... Whitetail deer numbers are down in most areas of northeastern South Dakota ... “A big piece of the puzzle is missing in not knowing the annual fawn survival rate,” said Jacquie Ermer, GFP regional wildlife manager in the Webster office. “The six-month survival rate is 57.5 percent...  “We know coyotes are a problem, and the situation today with less wheat being planted may have an impact, because fawns like wheat.” ...

Sioux Falls' Wild Side February 4, 2014 South Dakota, Keloland TV
...  for many people in Sioux Falls, there's plenty of nature right in their own back yard. 
Angela and Elijha Myers enjoy quiet evenings watching the deer in Tomar Park ... The deer put on a show almost every evening. Sometimes it's a little bambi learning about the dangers of thin ice. Other times, you might see a big buck ...

Mountain lion hunt becoming big business in South Dakota January 30, 2014 Rapid City Journal 
... Last season, 4,351 mountain lion licenses were purchased in South Dakota. Only 3,300 Black Hills rifle deer licenses were sold. This is more than double the number of mountain lion hunting licenses sold in 2010... only about 1.2% of 2013 mountain lion hunters were successful ... Black Hills deer hunters average a little over four days afield per season ...

Six simple steps to promote your local deer herd January 16, 2014 South Dakota, Rapid City Journal 
... Habitat comes first. Deer need dense cover to hide from predators and survive storms. Such habitat is rarely found in a plowed field. If you own the land, resist the temptation to beautify by picking up every branch or taking a chainsaw to every downed tree... when deer herds are concentrated into ever-decreasing parcels of shelter, disease can take a tremendous toll...

Mountain lion attacking a deer runs smack into a group of snowmobilers January 15, 2014 South Dakota, Rapid City Journal 
... Landing close enough for Hansen to touch with an outstretched boot, the deer bounded away directly toward the other snowmobilers. “It was running for its life because it had just gotten attacked,” Hansen said... 

Rapid City sharpshooters aim for 150 urban deer in January December 19, 2013 South Dakota, Rapid City Journal 
... The two city shooters have killed up to 300 deer a year since the city started the program in 1996, when 192 deer were targeted... deer have likely come into town from the Black Hills to take refuge... Game, Fish & Parks estimated about 2.09 deer per linear mile in 2009 ... around 1.94 deer in 2010; 1.27 deer in 2011; 1.67 deer in 2012; and 1.79 deer per linear mile this year...

South Dakota in midst of exciting deer management experiment December 5, 2013 Rapid City Journal 
... . Much of the state is entering a period of dramatically lower deer numbers associated with an unexpected combination of mortality factors: natural predation from re-emergent large predators such as lions and wolves, devastation by disease and the recent losses due to severe weather ... began to manage their own properties for quality deer production ...

Harsh winters and drought have reduced the deer herd but help may be on the way November 14, 2013 South Dakota, Rapid City Journal 
... Deer populations peaked in 2009 but three consecutive harsh winters, followed by the 2012 drought have seen deer populations decline in the Black Hills and open grassland areas ... The numbers of mule deer harvested has declined each year from a peak of 18,000 in 2009 to less than 10,000 in 2012...

State wildlife officials respond to big-game management review November 7, 2013 South Dakota, Rapid City Journal
... The outside review of big-game management in South Dakota that was ordered by Gov. Dennis Daugaard is bringing some rapid changes... Work on the elk management plan would start in December with a public survey ...

Deer disease number drops October 24, 2013 South Dakota, The Capital Journal
...  there have been 700 reported deer deaths from epizootic hemorrhagic disease so far this year. That compares to 3,700 reported deaths last year. Those led the GFP to eliminate unsold licenses in seven counties ...  EHD, is a virus spread by a biting midge that causes lesions, swelling and in some cases death within one to three days ...

Deer-Related Crash Chances Decline October 21, 2013 South Dakota,  KELOLAND TV
... the latest State Farm Insurance analysis of deer-related crash data shows a nearly 13-percent decrease in the likelihood of hitting a deer in the state... Drivers should take note because this is the time of year when you're most likely to encounter a deer on the road ...

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission held its October meeting in Spearfish last week.  October 17, 2013 SDGFP News
     To hear audio of the meeting, click here.  The Wildlife Management Institute presented their summary of the Big Game Management review to the Commission. Their presentation can be seen here.
     The Commission set the 2014 Mountain Lion Hunting Season with a harvest limit of 75 total cats or 50 female cats... The Commission also proposed adjustments in hunting, fishing and park license fees.  For more information on these proposals, and for meeting highlights, click here.  To comment on any of these proposals, click here.

... Statewide, hunters harvested 71,500 deer in South Dakota during the 2012 season, down from 85,160 harvested in 2011. Of that total, 62,900 were whitetails (30,800 bucks, 32,100 does) and 8,600 were mule deer (4,900 bucks, 3,700 does.) ...

Hunting/Fishing License Fee Changes Proposed October 9, 2013 South Dakota, SDGFP News
     Aside from a $1 increase mandated a year ago by legislation that authorized an increase in certain license fees for animal damage control programs, broad changes have not been made to hunting and fishing license fees since 2005. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, inflation in that time has risen 20 percent.  Along with inflationary reasons, the Commission cited the rising costs of state-provided health care for GFP employees as driving the need for an increase.
     An additional proposal by the Commission would expand the current $5 fee for preference points.  Currently, a $5 fee is assessed to big game license applicants who do not wish to draw a license but wish to add a preference point from the first lottery drawing for deer, antelope, turkey, waterfowl and paddlefish licenses. The proposal would provide for a $5 resident and $10 nonresident fee for any unsuccessful applicant wishing to add a preference point in a future first lottery drawing for licenses in these hunting seasons. Applicants would have the option of declining the preference point and therefore not pay the preference point fee.
     To comment on any of the proposals, send a letter to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501; or email . Comments on proposal will be taken until 5 p.m. CST on Nov. 6. To be included in the public record, please include your full name and city of residence.
For those who would like to comment in person on these proposed rule changes, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. CST as part of their meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7.
     Resident Proposed Fee Changes:  •Deer:  1-Tag Any $36-$40; Any + Antlerless $46-$50; 1-Tag Antlerless $16-$20; 2-Tag Antlerless $26-$30; Special Buck $156-$175.   •Antelope:  1-Tag Any $36-$40; Any + Doe/Fawn $46-$50; 1-Tag Doe/Fawn $16-$20; 2-Tag Doe/Fawn $26-$30.   Elk:  Any Elk $156-$175; Antlerless $106-$116
     Nonresident Proposed Fee Changes:.  Deer:  1-Tag Antlerless $56-$80; 2-Tag Antlerless $81-$120; Special Buck $506-$560.  •Antelope:  1-Tag Doe/Fawn $56-$80; 2-Tag Doe/Fawn $81-$120

Hunters Reminded About Prohibitions Against Use of Salt and Bait Stations October 1, 2013 SDGFP News
      As South Dakota big game hunters prepare for the opening of hunting seasons, the Game, Fish and Parks Department is taking the opportunity to remind them that the use of salt or salt licks for the purpose of enticing or baiting big game animals is prohibited by state law.
     “Most hunters realize that you cannot hunt over salt, but conservation officers often receive questions regarding the use of salt for scouting,” Andy Alban, GFP law enforcement program administrator said. “It is also illegal to place salt in an area utilized in conjunction with a camera for the purpose of pre-season scouting and then hunt that same area once the season begins.”

Perkins County deer licenses adjusted September 6, 2013 South Dakota, GFP
... The Game, Fish and Parks Department has been monitoring die-offs of white-tailed deer in northwestern South Dakota, centered in northern Perkins County, and will now reduce the number of licenses available in the affected area.  The deer die-offs have been linked to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), which also caused deer die-offs early last fall in many parts of the state...“Our staff have been keeping a close watch for loss of deer, and as reports have come in from landowners and concerned citizens we have focused our efforts in northern Perkins County,” Tom Kirschenmann, Chief of Wildlife for GFP said. “Eliminating these unsold licenses is an appropriate response based on the current information and we will continue to monitor the area and situation.” ...

South Dakota Mountain Lion Season Proposed August 9, 2013 South Dakota, SDGFP News
... The 2014 South Dakota mountain lion hunting season will have a lower harvest limit for the Black Hills under a proposal by the Game, Fish and Parks Commission....The 2014 harvest limit for the Black Hills as proposed by the Commission would be decreased from 2013. Last year the limit was 100 total mountain lions or 70 females. The 2014 proposal is for a harvest limit of 75 total mountain lions or 50 females. If either harvest limit is reached before March 31, the season would immediately close within the Black Hills.
     Custer State Park, part of the Black Hills season structure, also has a proposed change increasing the number of hunting intervals when hunting with dogs is allowed from three to four, and decreasing the number of hunting intervals when hunting with dogs is not allowed from five to four. Four access permits will be issued for each of the four intervals when hunting with dogs is allowed and 30 access permits will be issued for each of the four intervals when no dog hunting is allowed.
     The mountain lion hunting season proposals will be finalized at the Oct. 3 - 4 GFP Commission meeting at the Holiday Inn Express in Spearfish. To view the full proposals on those seasons, visit and look under the "rule proposals" heading.
     To comment on any of the proposals, send a letter to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501; or email Comments on proposal will be taken until 5 p.m. CDT on Oct. 2. To be included in the public record, please include your full name and city of residence.  
To comment in person on these proposed rule changes, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. MDT as part of their meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3.

Deer draw (rude) awakening, population decline August 4, 2013 South Dakota, Minot Daily News
... The reason for fewer deer gun licenses, obviously, is that there are fewer deer in the state - whitetails and mule deer... Surveys confirm it... There are several reasons for the decline. Among them are three tough winters beginning in 2008, the loss of 2 million Conservation Reserve Program acres, and increased activity in energy and agriculture...

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission will be holding its August meeting at the Watertown Events Center on August 1-2.
     The Commission will be finalizing the 2013 Duck and Goose Hunting Seasons as well as Big Game Depredation and State Game Bird Refuge Proposals.  The Commission will also be proposing the 2014 Mountain Lion Hunting Season.  To see a full agenda, and for more information, click here.  To comment on any of the finalizations, click here.  Comments must be received by 5 pm CDT, July 31st. The public hearing for this meeting will begin at 2 pm, CDT. The Watertown Events Center is located at 1901 Ninth Ave. SW.

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has proposed a change to the format for big game depredation pool applications. July 17, 2013 GFP
      Interested big game hunters may apply each year for a spot in a pool of hunters who may be called upon to help alleviate depredation on agricultural land caused by big game animals.  While hunters could apply for an unlimited number of counties in the past,  the change proposed by the Commission will limit hunters to a maximum of 10 counties.
     In recent years it has been difficult for GFP to find registered individuals that are willing to respond to GFP's request for a depredation hunt in an adequate timeframe, primarily because of weather conditions or the distance needed to travel. By limiting the number of counties to a maximum of 10 counties per individual, GFP anticipates that individuals that entered themselves for depredation hunts will participate at a higher level when called upon.
     Last winter there were 147 hunting permits issued for turkey and 195 for deer.  
The GFP Commission also finalized provisions for potential elk depredation hunting seasons with no changes from 2012.  Unlike deer and turkey depredation hunts, unsuccessful elk license holders are used if elk depredation hunts are needed.  In 2012, no elk depredation permits were issued.
     The big game depredation hunt proposals will be finalized at the Aug. 1-2 GFP Commission meeting, which will be at the Event Center in Watertown. To view the full proposals on those seasons, visit: and look under the "rule proposals" heading.
     To comment on the proposal, send a letter to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501; or email Comments on proposal will be taken until 5 p.m. CDT on July 31. To be included in the public record, please include your full name and city of residence.
     To comment in person on these proposed rule changes, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. CDT as part of their meeting on Thursday, Aug. 1.

South Dakota Mule Deer: Bucks in Velvet - July 9, 2013

Game, Fish & Parks reminds public: leave deer fawns alone June 5, 2013 South Dakota,
White-tailed deer are giving birth to thousands of fawns across South Dakota at this time of year. These young fawns soon venture into the world on shaky legs and are discovered by people living and working nearby.  Every year, the lives of many fawns are upset by people who mean only to help.These people take fawns from the wild in a mistaken attempt to save them...

GFP Commission to Hold its June Meeting In Pierre This Week June 5, 2013 South Dakota, SDGFP News Release
   The SD GFP Commission will hold its monthly meeting in Pierre on Thursday and Friday of this week.  The Commission will be proposing the Firearms Antelope, Early Fall Canada Goose, Youth Waterfowl and Sage Grouse Hunting Seasons, as well as a harvested wolf inspection requirement.
   The Commission will be finalizing East River, West River, Custer State Park, Black Hills, Archery, Muzzleloader, Refuge and Youth Deer hunting seasons, as well as the Fall Turkey hunting season, Bobcat Trapping and Hunting, August Management Take for Canada geese, and an Archery Accompaniment rule.
   Click here for the full meeting agenda and proposal information (available Wednesday).  If you would like to comment on any of these seasons via email, click here. Comments will be taken until 8am Thursday, June 6. Please include your full name and city of residence. The meeting will begin at 1 pm CDT at the Capitol Lake Visitor's Center next to the State Capitol, which is located at 650 Capitol Ave. The public hearing portion of the meeting will begin at 2 pm.

Sioux Falls, Feeding deer in Sioux Falls gets City Council attention May 25, 2013 South Dakota, Sioux Falls Argus Leader
... No city ordinance or state law prohibits deer feeding, but South Dakota law prohibits the use of salt or salt licks to entice big game ... communities such as Sioux City, Iowa, have passed deer-feeding bans ... Rapid City and Pierre also have deer-feeding bans... Capt. Melvin Williams of the Sioux City [Iowa] Police Department... said enforcement is an issue because it is difficult to prove that residents intentionally are feeding deer and not just intending to provide food for birds and squirrels...

Listening session jabs state on elk, mountain lion management May 16, 2013 South Dakota, Rapid City Journal
... Lions got their fair share of attention, with some hunters saying GF&P allowed the lion population to grow to problem levels that damage deer and elk herds. Harry Burk of Hermosa said, however, that management of the lion seemed designed to "wipe out a whole species."  Critics also challenged the agency over elk management, which they said allowed elk to virtually disappear in some parts of the Black Hills while continuing to cause trouble for landowners in other areas...

Public may feel left out of SD big game management May 15, 2013 South Dakota, San Francisco Chronicle
... The half dozen people who attended a meeting on big-game management suggested Wednesday that many South Dakota hunters and landowners feel their views are not taken into consideration in the management of deer, elk, ... George Vandel, a former manager in the department's Wildlife Division, said South Dakota's big-game management has always been driven by how many deer and elk farmers and ranchers would tolerate on their land...

Deer Tag Numbers To Drop? May 14, 2013 South Dakota, Yankton Daily Press
... South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) has proposed further restrictions on deer tags this year in response to massive deer die-offs last year.
The Yankton region saw about 1,100 deer die last summer and fall from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) ...

SD big game policy group to hold 3 public meetings May 13, 2013 South Dakota, Westport-News
... Gov. Dennis Daugaard called for an independent review of the state's policies amid growing complaints from hunters about declines in the Black Hills elk and deer populations. Some think the state's growing mountain lion population is responsible, while others think the Game, Fish and Parks Department has issued too many licenses for elk and deer...

Officials Set To Outline Proposals On Deer Disease May 10, 2013 South Dakota, Yankton Daily Press
Next week, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) officials will outline proposals for dealing with a disease claiming more than 1,100 deer in the southeast part of the state. The open houses in Yankton, Tyndall and Freeman ... May 14, 15, 16 ...

GF&P seeks smaller deer harvests May 3, 2013 South Dakota, Daily Republic
... Thousands of fewer deer licenses and tags could be offered to hunters ... There would be only a minor reduction for the Black Hills ... areas were hit to varying degrees by fatal disease last year. Approximately 3,700 deer were reported to be found dead.  Throughout much of the state, drought may be cutting into reproduction...

Black Hills Elk Herd Survey April 20, 2013 South Dakota, SDGFP
... The South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks recently completed an aerial survey of the entire Black Hills. The purpose of the survey was to conduct a complete population estimate of the Black Hills elk herd.  Wildlife staff presented their findings to the GFP Commission at its' April meeting. Click here to see that presentation.

Deer on Bellepine Circle, Sioux Falls, April 2013

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South Dakota Data:  Deer numbers are down significantly in much of the state due to causes including:  severe weather, disease such as EHD, and increased predation.  Deer populations are down in northeastern South Dakota, coyote predation on fawns and less wheat being planted are causes under investigation.  Deer populations had a recent peak in 2009.  The number of tags sold has been reduced to boost the population.
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South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources

South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Strategic Managment System, Adaptive Resource Management: "The Division of Wildlife will manage South Dakota’s wildlife and fisheries resources and their associated habitats for their sustained and equitable use, and for the benefit, welfare, and enjoyment of the citizens of this state and its visitors."

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