April GFP Commission Proposals and Finalizations April 10, 2019 South Dakota

South Dakota Deer Population, Management News and Information Archive

April GFP Commission Proposals and Finalizations

April 10, 2019 GFP News

  • New Special Any Whitetail License Proposed
  • Apprentice Hunter Deer Season Approved
  • Tag Increases for Black Hills Deer Hunting Season Proposed
  • GFP Commission Proposes Changes to Custer State Park Deer Hunting Season
  • GFP Commission Proposes Criteria for Resident and Nonresident Future Allocations
  • 2019 and 2020 East River Deer Hunting Seasons Proposed
  • 2019 and 2020 West River Deer Hunting Seasons Proposed
  • 2019 and 2020 Refuge Deer Hunting Seasons Proposed
  • Proposal to Open More Counties for Antlerless Archery & Muzzleloader Hunting
  • 2019 Bighorn Sheep Hunting Season Finalized
  • Custer State Park Antlerless Elk Season Closes; Custer State Park Bison Harvests Set
  • Several Trapping Seasons Finalized
  • Trapping Rules Finalized
  • Free Hunting Licenses, Park Entrance Licenses through Habitat Crowdsourcing
  • GFP Commission Finalizes Hunt for Habitat: 3 Super Tag Packages
  • GFP Commission Finalizes Mickelson Trail and Park Entrance Exemptions
  • GFP Commission Finalizes Changes to Specialized State Park Land Use
  • Proposal to Rezone Parts of Three Waterbodies

New Special Buck Any Whitetail License Proposed

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed to add resident and nonresident any whitetail licenses to the choices hunters could choose from for future West River deer hunting seasons.

The proposal would create Special Buck any whitetail deer licenses to be allocated at the greater of four percent of the total resident West River deer licenses that include an any whitetail deer tag from the previous year or a minimum 500 each for resident and nonresident hunters.

The proposed licenses would cost $169 for residents and $554 for nonresidents.

If a person successfully drew a special any whitetail deer license, they would not be able to apply for a West River deer license in the initial and second drawings.

If a person successfully drew a West River deer license they would not be eligible for a leftover special any whitetail deer license.

Special Buck licenses are only valid on private land. An applicant must have permission from an owner or lessee of private land before applying. An applicant for special any whitetail buck must also include the name and telephone number of the owner or lessee providing permission.

The GFP Commission will consider adopting the proposal on May 2 at Custer State Park’s Creekside Lodge. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 2 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail them 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.

Apprentice Hunter Deer Season Approved

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized the 2020-2021 Apprentice Hunter deer season to be Sept. 14, 2019 – Jan. 1, 2020 and Sept. 12, 2020 – Jan. 1, 2021.

Both residents and nonresidents that have not reached the age of 18 years old on June 30 may purchase an apprentice hunter deer license; which is only valid to harvest an antlerless deer. In addition, any resident hunter who has not previously held a license to hunt deer during the previous 10 years in South Dakota may purchase this license.

Receiving this license does not impact eligibility for other deer hunting seasons.

Hunters may purchase up to one apprentice hunter deer license valid statewide. 

Tag Increases for Black Hills Deer Hunting Season Proposed

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed the 2019 and 2020 Black Hills firearms deer hunting seasons.

The proposed seasons would run Nov. 1-30 and have a maximum of:

  • 200 resident and 16 nonresident any deer licenses.
  • 3,500 resident and 280 nonresident any whitetail deer licenses.
  • 1,100 resident and 88 nonresident antlerless whitetail deer licenses.

The proposed changes would increase antlerless whitetail licenses by 540 tags; 500 residents and 40 for nonresident hunters.

The GFP Commission will consider adopting the proposal on May 2 at Custer State Park’s Creekside Lodge. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 2 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail them 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.

GFP Commission Proposes Changes to

Custer State Park Deer Hunting Season

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed an increase of up to 24 licenses for the 2019 and 2020 deer hunting seasons.

In addition, it was proposed to change the Dec. 1-15 season (Unit CUD-2), from a muzzleloader only to an any weapon season.

The proposed season unit dates would be:

  • CUD-1: November 1-30 (only archery equipment allowed from November 1-15)
  • CUD-2: December 1-15

Proposed licenses available for 2019 and 2020 would be

  • 5 any deer licenses
  • 33 any whitetail deer licenses
  • 50 antlerless whitetail deer licenses

The GFP Commission will consider adopting the proposal on May 2 at Custer State Park’s Creekside Lodge. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 2 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail them 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.

GFP Commission Proposes Criteria for

Resident and Nonresident Future Allocations

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed a list of criteria they would use when considering options for outdoor opportunities for resident and nonresidents.

These criteria were initially discussed and created by a citizen work group, consisting of commission representatives, hunters, anglers, sportsmen/women groups, outfitters, tourism and retail representatives. The proposed criteria would be used to consider future license allocations; however, when using the criteria it is understood that not all items would need to be addressed.

After taking input from this group, the Commission proposed five areas of criteria to consider:

1.   The Issue

  • Why make the change, what are the change alternatives, how will public/stakeholder input be solicited, and how will the change be evaluated if implemented?

2.   Historical Considerations

  • What are the current and projected trends in resident and nonresident license sales, documented and/or perceived hunter densities and the ramifications of these densities?
  • How do neighboring states address the identified issue?

3.   Biological Considerations

  • What is the current and projected status of the population and habitat conditions for these populations?

4.   Social Considerations

  • How would the change affect resident and nonresident: current and future generations of families, opportunities to expand outdoor recreation participation and patterns of land ownership.

5.   Financial considerations

  • What are the financial implications of the change for current and future: revenue for GFP and the ability of GFP to support species and habitat management programs, program income for landowners to manage habitat, sales tax collections in SD, and personal income of business owners and their employees.

For more information, visit: https://gfp.sd.gov/pages/resident-nonresident/

The GFP Commission will consider adopting the proposal on May 2 at Custer State Park’s Creekside Lodge. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 2 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail them 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.

2019 and 2020 East River Deer Hunting Seasons Proposed

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed a slight increase in buck tags for the 2019 and 2020 East River deer hunting seasons.

The proposed seasons would run:

                        November 23 – December 8, 2019

                        December 14-22, 2019 – for antlerless deer tags only

                        November 21 – December 6, 2020

                        December 12-20, 2020 – for antlerless deer tags only

The Commission proposed to adjust resident license numbers from no more than 21,075 one-tag and 5,250 two-tag deer licenses to no more than 24,510 one-tag and 2,800 two-tag tag deer licenses. The proposal would increase licenses available to harvest any deer by five percent and decrease antlerless licenses by up to 13 percent.

The Commission also proposed to establish Units 13P (Brule County), 33P (Hand County), 36P (Hughes County), and 38P (Hyde County). These units are for antlerless whitetail deer licenses and would be valid on private land only; all public lands would be closed to license holders within these respective units, including Walk-in Areas.

The GFP Commission will consider adopting the proposal on May 2 at Custer State Park’s Creekside Lodge. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 2 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail them 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.

2019 and 2020 West River Deer Hunting Seasons Proposed

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed a nearly 40 percent increase in antlerless tags for the West River deer hunting season.

The Commission proposed the following dates:

2019   

  • All units excluding Gregory County: November 16 – December 1, 2019
  • Gregory County (Unit 30A): Nov. 9-12 and Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2019
  • Gregory County (Unit 30B): November 16 – December 1, 2019
  • Antlerless deer tags only: December 14-22, 2019

2020   

  • All units excluding Gregory County: November 14-29, 2020
  • Gregory County (Unit 30A): Nov. 7-10 and Nov. 23-29, 2020
  • Gregory County (Unit 30B): November 14-29, 2020
  • Antlerless deer tags only: December 12-20, 2020

The proposal would adjust resident license numbers from no more than 15,340 one-tag and 3,320 two-tag deer licenses to 12,308 one-tag, 5,220 two-tag deer licenses and 400 three-tag deer licenses.

The proposal also would establish Units 15P (includes that portion valid within Unit 15A of Butte County), 27P (includes that portion valid within Unit 27B of Fall River County), and 45P (includes that portion valid within Unit 45B of Lyman County). These units are for antlerless whitetail deer licenses and would be private land only; all public lands are closed to license holders within these respective units, including Walk-in Areas.

The GFP Commission will consider adopting the proposal on May 2 at Custer State Park’s Creekside Lodge. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 2 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail them 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.

2019 and 2020 Refuge Deer Hunting Seasons Proposed

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed the 2019 and 2020 National Wildlife Refuge deer hunting seasons.

The proposed season dates would be:

2019                          

Sand Lake NWR

  • November 9-13
  • November 14-18
  • November 19-24
  • November 25 – December 1
  • December 2-8
  • December 9-17 (unfilled antlerless licenses only)

Lacreek NWR    

  • October 16-22
  • November 27 – December 3

Waubay NWR - includes Waubay State Game Refuge

  • November 16-24
  • November 30 – December 8

2020                          

Sand Lake NWR                 

  • November 14-18
  • November 19-23
  • November 24-29
  • November 30 – December 6
  • December 7-13,
  • December 14-22 (unfilled antlerless licenses only)

Lacreek NWR    

  • October 21-27
  • November 25 – December 1

Waubay NWR - includes Waubay State Game Refuge

  • November 14-22
  • November 28 – December 6

The proposed number of licenses available would be:

Sand Lake NWR

  • Resident: 80 any deer and 25 any antlerless deer licenses
  • Nonresident: 8 any deer and 2 any antlerless deer licenses

Lacreek NWR         

  • Residents: 20 any deer licenses
  • Nonresidents: 2 any deer licenses

Waubay NWR          

  • Residents: 20 any deer licenses
  • Nonresidents: 2 any deer licenses

The Commission also proposed for the Waubay National Wildlife Refuge, to modify the season dates as follows: WA1 would open for nine consecutive days beginning seven days before the beginning of the East River deer season; WA2 would open for five consecutive days beginning on day following the end of WA1; and WA3 would open for nine consecutive days beginning on the day following the end of WA2.

The Commission proposed to make an allowance for antlerless archery deer licenses to be valid for the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge and for unfilled antlerless deer licenses for the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge, change current rule from nine consecutive days beginning on the Saturday following December 25 to nine consecutive days beginning on the day following the end of the Unit RFD-SL5 season.

The GFP Commission will consider adopting the proposal on May 2 at Custer State Park’s Creekside Lodge. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 2 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail them 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.

Proposal Calls to Open More Counties for

Antlerless Archery and Muzzleloader Hunting

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed the 2019 and 2020 muzzleloader deer hunting season to run Dec. 1 – Jan. 1.

There would be 1,000 any deer licenses and an unlimited amount of antlerless whitetail deer licenses.

Antlerless whitetail deer licenses would be valid in a larger part of the state as the Commission proposed to close Unit 59A for that license, and open Units 05A, 11A, 11B, 17A, 18A, 22A, 23A, 25A, 32A, 39B, 45B, 48A, 50A, 55A for antlerless whitetail hunting.

The proposed archery deer hunting seasons for 2019 and 2020 would run Sept. 1 – Jan. 1.

Similar to the muzzleloader season, the proposal for archery any antlerless whitetail licenses (ARD-LM1) would close unit 59A and open units 05A, 11A, 11B, 17A, 18A, 22A, 23A, 25A, 32A, 39B, 45B, 48A, 50A, 55A for antlerless whitetail hunting.

The Commission also proposed to increase the number of Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve access permits for antlerless whitetail deer from 25 to 30.

The GFP Commission will consider adopting the proposal on May 2 at Custer State Park’s Creekside Lodge. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 2 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail them 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.

2019 Bighorn Sheep Hunting Season Finalized

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized a slight change to the Unit 3 boundary for the 2019 bighorn sheep hunting season by removing an area south and west of Badlands National Park.

The bighorn sheep hunting season will run Sept. 1 – Dec. 31, 2019, and have four ram bighorn sheep licenses available.

One of the three bighorn sheep licenses continues to be allocated as an auction tag.

Custer State Park Antlerless Elk Season Closes;

Custer State Park Bison Harvests Set

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission closed the antlerless elk hunting season in Custer State Park (CSP) with a current elk population estimate of approximately 552 elk.

The population objective for CSP elk is 800 wintering elk and will generally range from 700-900 depending on habitat conditions.

The antlerless season opened in 2017 to allow the department to learn more about several areas of the CSP elk herd, including: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), concerns of over-utilizing forage, and to evaluate future management actions. With the recent dispersal of elk from this antlerless unit and no identified management response actions if CWD reaches a certain threshold, there is no need for this season.

The Commission also set the Custer State Park Trophy Bison Bull Harvest for eight trophy bulls. The season is open for 62 days, beginning the third Monday in November. The non-trophy bison season was also set at 15 animals. That season is open for 40 days, beginning the first Monday in October.

Several Trapping Seasons Finalized

With no changes proposed for several trapping seasons, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Mustkrat hunting dates – which only applies to landowners, lessees and state, county or township highway officials:        

  • April 1 – Aug 31, statewide

Mink, weasel and muskrat trapping season:

  • Nov. 2, 2019 – Jan. 31, 2020: All areas of the state, east of the Missouri River and portions of the Black Hills Fire Protection District south of Interstate 90 and west of SD Highway 79.
  • Year-round: All areas of the state, west of the Missouri River, except that portion of the Black Hills Fire Protection District south of Interstate 90 and west SD Highway 79.
  • Trapping on or in muskrat houses is prohibited from March 16 to the end of the season.

Skunk, opossum, jackrabbit. fox, raccoon and badger season:

  • This season is year-round and statewide.

Beaver trapping and hunting season:

  • Year-round: Counties west of the Missouri River, except that portion of the Black Hills Fire Protection District south of Interstate 90 and west SD Highway 79.
  • November 2, 2019 – April 30, 2020: All counties east of the Missouri River and portions of the Black Hills Fire Protection District south of Interstate 90 and west of SD Highway 79 that are not owned by the US Forest Service.
  • January 1 – March 31, 2020: US Forest Service land in the Black Hills Fire Protection District south of Interstate 90 and west of SD Highway 79.

Trapping Rules Finalized

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized the extension of the existing rule to allow the use of traps and snares on public lands and improved rights-of-ways through August 31.

The rule will still require owners of traps and snares to actively operate and check their equipment in accordance to trap-check rules.

Free Hunting Licenses, Park Entrance Licenses through

Habitat Crowdsourcing Effort

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission authorized the department secretary the opportunity to issue a free state park entrance license or small game hunting license as part of the digital crowdsourcing effort to find habitat management solutions across the state.

As part of Governor Noem’s Second Century Initiative, any member or the public whose idea is implemented would receive a free state park entrance license or small game hunting license. Constituents with habitat improvement ideas should visit the South Dakota Habitat Solutions Facebook page or submit ideas via email to habitatpays@state.sd.us now through April 30, 2019.

GFP Commission Finalizes Hunt for Habitat:

3 Super Tag Packages

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission created three super tag license packages as a part of Governor Noem’s Second Century Initiative. 

Each license package will include a tag for one any elk, any deer and any antelope. In addition, the Commission created a Custer State Park trophy bison license.

Both residents and nonresidents are eligible to submit applications for these super tags, but no more than one of the three license packages can be issued to a nonresident. Both residents and nonresidents are eligible to submit applications for the trophy bison license.

There will be a $10 resident and a $20 nonresident application fee. An unlimited amount of applications can be submitted.

Preference points will not be accrued or used for super tags. Super tag winners are able to choose the current or following year for when their tag(s) are valid.

GFP Commission Finalizes Mickelson Trail

and Park Entrance Exemptions

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized several rule changes related to entrance and use fees that will expand opportunities in state parks across the state.

The Commission exempted the Mickelson Trail pass requirement for past and present military personnel along with their family and guests if participating in an approved military group event held on the trail. It will include South Dakota military veterans, members of the South Dakota National Guard and military reserve units, patients of veterans’ hospitals in South Dakota and family members and guests attending the event. Event organizers will need to complete an online special event application before the event.

The change includes the Mickelson Trail in a rule that provides the same benefits in all other state park areas, which was implemented three years ago.

The proposal also eliminates a $15 late fee on the Mickelson Trail, which could be charged if a user was on the trail without current pass. With the late fee eliminated, users will be required to immediately purchase either a daily or annual trail pass at regular cost.

The Commission also exempted any enrolled Crow Creek tribal member and their family from the park entrance license requirement at West Bend Recreation Area.

The Commission set the expiration of a daily park entrance license at 11 p.m. year-round. This would extend use hours and replace the 9 p.m. expiration currently in place during the parks’ shoulder season (October through April).

GFP Commission Finalizes Changes to

Specialized State Park Land Use

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized rule changes that impact state park land use, including commercial use, .22 firearms and tree stand allowance.

The Commission created a fee structure for permitting commercial activities in South Dakota State Parks. Examples of typical for-profit commercial activity are commercial photography and filming, food vendors, kayak lessons, horseback and bicycle tours, rock climbing schools and concerts. Commercial users will need to secure a permit and pay applicable fees. The action will also remove agricultural activity from the permitting requirement, as it is already required by statute and therefore redundant.

The Commission repealed a rule that prohibits uncased .22 rimfire firearms in the state parks, opening up the opportunity for hunters to pursue small game during legal hunting seasons.

Another change will extend the time that tree stands are allowed in state parks. The new timeframe will be from Aug. 1 to March 31, allowing earlier installation of tree stands to accommodate archery hunters and to allow extra time to remove them due to weather restraints.

A rule change regarding the time limit for occupying a campsite would not change the rule, but will eliminate confusion. The phrase used to describe the time limit will change from 15 consecutive days to 14 consecutive nights to be consistent with use elsewhere in rule.

Proposal to Rezone Parts of Three Waterbodies

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed the rezoning of parts of three waterbodies.

The Commission proposed a “no wake zone” at Compton’s Cove in Stanley County. This area is just north of Marion’s Gardens, in Fort Pierre, on the Missouri River.

The Commission also proposed a modification of the “no boating zone” dates on the Putney Slough Game Production Area from Oct.15 – Dec.31 to Oct. 20 – Dec. 31. This would give boaters and waterfowl hunters more opportunity and simplify regulations.

Finally, the Commission proposed to remove the “no boating zone” on the north half of Long Lake in Codington County. Long Lake has become a popular fishery. If this proposal passes, GFP would develop a modern boat ramp on the lake to provide better public access.

The GFP Commission will consider adopting the proposal on May 2 at Custer State Park’s Creekside Lodge. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 2 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail them 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.



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