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july 2012 Commission Meeting

July 9, 2012
Pierre

Rules Proposed at this Meeting

summary

Division of Administration

Action Items
Approve minutes of the June 6-7, 2012, meeting
Approve minutes of the June 18, 2012, meeting
Additional Commissioner Salary Days
License List Requests

  • Calamity Peak Lodge near Custer for elk license holders in Unit H-3 and Custer State Park to invite hunters to stay at lodge when in the Custer area; approved
  • Lee's Meat and Sausage, Inc., from Tea for 4,000 East River Deer license holders from Sioux Falls and surrounding area to offer services for processing deer; approved

Information items
License Sales Report

  • Overall license sales still up over 19% vs. same time in 2011; Resident Annual Fishing licenses up 30% and Nonresident Annual Fishing up nearly 50%; have already hit the totals for fishing licenses that were sold in 2011; Over 4,600 resident Senior Combination Licenses have been sold

Sheps Canyon Outdoor Recreation Complex development plan

  • Made up of a number of different types of property including GFP property, federal government property, and other ownership; popular area for year-round recreation and potential for considerable development
  • Hill Ranch Game Production Area: have developed access roads and parking area with more ready for construction; irrigation on property a key component to improving habitat, there will be no center pivot system, put in more gated pipe to be part of system; GPS and mark hiking trails; will be planting more food plots and habitat plantings; will further develop boundary fencing; and add north access road and parking area
  • In 2012 focus has been on main road at Shep's Canyon, upgraded with cooperation of Bureau of Reclamation; expanded parking at the boat ramp with lights, and at campground added 22 sites with electricity, basic utilities in place, drain fields for comfort stations, campground will open this month; drip irrigation being put in place; pending funding will be adding another lane to the boat ramp, plant trees where future shoreline camping will be located, develop horse camp and 14.25 miles of horse riding trail; looking at developing a boat-in primitive camping unit; in 2014 add vault toilets and other facilities for Lakeside Use Area

Mountain lion protocol

  • Emmett Keyser for the Division of Wildlife and Matt Schneider from Custer State Park were on hand to share information with the Commission; Increase in mountain lion population has brought increase in human-mountain lion interactions; staff reviewed protocol that is in place for response when those interactions occur
  • Recent training in Montana on handling large predator attacks was attended by John Kanta
  • Guide for staff on response includes: defines different levels of confrontation including a sighting, an encounter, an incident, and an attack; brochure "Living with Mountain Lions" put together as part of education process; mountain lions removed if judged to be a threat to public safety; state law allows an individual to take a mountain lion if life is threatened or if imminent threat to pets or livestock
  • Department response: Sightings will gather information and file a report; encounter staff responds directly to the situation to verify the presence of a lion and report; chain of communication to make sure necessary staff are informed; more serious encounters may lead to lion being removed for public safety; when Department personnel observe an interaction may lead to immediate removal of the lion; in attack situations on scene and potentially with other law enforcement agencies, complete investigation of the incident and the area to gather evidence; local staff works with media
  • There is specific protocol for radio-collared lions
  • In Custer State Park response mirrors Division of Wildlife; education as part of work of Park naturalists at the campgrounds; take comments from those involved in an encounter, verify, and complete observation report; working to see if lion comes back to public area; is there a fresh kill site, and if there is the kill is removed from the area; decision to move a lion may be made in consultation with the Division of Wildlife; if there is an attack the first response is for the safety and welfare of the victim, then investigate as if it were a crime scene; with amount of traffic in the Park have to address potential for lion being struck by a car, often cause problems and may be removed; also have a list of acceptable behaviors that will result in no action taken against the lion; Park deals with more encounter issues with buffalo than with mountain lions

Comments from the Governor's office

  • Dusty Johnson and Jason Glodt represented the Governor's Office
  • We have a great wildlife management agency and tremendously talented men and women who are employed by the Department; difficult job with tough issues
  • Some have asked, “Is there room for improvements,” and the answer is yes; Secretary Vonk suggested a fresh set of eyes to validate what is being done well and where there is room for improvement; come to an agreement that this can be a very healthy thing
  • Suggest that Jason Glodt be in charge of the process to put together a Request for Proposal to develop and independent review group; necessary to have input from GFP Commission on this process
  • Need to ask what issues to review, what to look for in an independent review committee, and how should that group work
  • Use feedback from Commission, GFP employees and the public to make this process a process that makes sense and will work
  • There will be several opportunities for public input, this process will not be possible without stakeholder input
  • Thank you to Jeff Vonk for his leadership and invitation for this level of scrutiny; this is an opportunity for agency improvement
  • Glodt will be seeking help on putting Request for Proposal together; recently MT, WY and CO have done similar reviews; about 20 years since SD had such a review; need to identify what areas we need to have reviewed; issue RFP sometime in August, review in Sept and deadline for submittals in Oct, selection in late fall and review process will begin early next year, typically take 4-6 months to complete
  • The focus of this review will be on Wildlife with a set of specific issues that will be identified for review; management of wildlife and overall management of the agency
  • When review is complete the results will be reviewed by Jason Glodt and shared with all concerned; review will be a public document for all to see

Open Forum

  • Chris Hesla for SD Wildlife Federation on sale of property at Wall Lake disappointed that public did not have opportunity to give public input and provide adequate opportunity to provide testimony on proposed sale
  • Tom Huhnerkoch spoke on issue of mountain lion management and consider prey population growth rates and recovery, should not draw a straight line between loss of prey and work of predator

Public Hearing at 10 AM

 

Finalizations
Antelope Hunting Seasons

  • Staff shared information on summer survey antelope for population status update: estimated over 700,000 prior to 1800 but gone by 1909; 1911 passed law making it illegal to kill an antelope; 1941 there were 11,000 primarily in Harding and Butte counties and hunting season in 1942
  • Since 2000 harvest peaked in 2008 with 17,000 harvest and 4,400 harvest in 2011; success last year was 50% and like to see closer to 70%; archery antelope was around 16% last year
  • Goal is to count 10% of estimated doe antelope population through random counts in August and September; get doe:fawn ratio for estimated recruitment; last year ratio was 67:100 and hope for higher in 2012; 80:100 is a good ratio to have
  • Aerial survey goal to survey 1/3 of each unit; 2012 estimate about 22,000 adult animals (about 5% decrease from last year); peak of 50,000 adult animals around 2007 to 22,000; if recruitment is the same this year as last, conservative estimate of 32,000 antelope in SD this year; objective is to have 50-60,000 antelope
  • Staff recommended changes from proposal to offer resident hunters 80 less single-tag licenses and 500 less two-tag licenses (1,000 tags) than currently proposed. Overall, offer resident hunters 245 less single-tag licenses and 1,515 less two-tag licenses (3,030 tags) than 2011
  • Already in rule is a provision allowing nonresidents to apply after the second drawing for any licenses that may be left unsold and that will in place as part of the license application and sales process
  • Motion to amend proposal as recommended was passed; season finalized as amended

East River Deer Hunting Season

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Season finalized as proposed

Refuge Deer Hunting Season

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Season finalized as proposed

Early Fall Canada Goose

  • Staff recommended change from proposal to increase the daily bag limit to 15 and possession limit to 30
  • Motion to amend the proposal as recommended was passed; season finalized as amended

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season

  • Staff recommends rejecting proposal and staying with 2011 season date structure; after further discussion with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife on allowing goose hunters to donate Canada geese through the Sportsmen Against Hunger Program, harvested geese can only be donated when no other waterfowl seasons are occurring.  Therefore, to maximize the time period allowed for hunters to donate harvested geese and to work towards an increase in harvest of Canada geese, the Department recommends maintaining the current start date for youth waterfowl.
  • Season dates Sept. 22-23
  • Motion to reject original proposal was passed and season reverts to 2011 rule

Elk License Raffle

  • Change from proposal to clarify that this rule will go into effect for 2013 elk season; rule will allow the individual who wins the raffle for this license to hunt any unit within the Black Hills where an “any elk” license is valid
  • Motion to amend the proposal as recommended was passed; season finalized as amended

Dog Training

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Staff recommends making the proposed changes to create allowances for those game bird challenges that take place during the confines of the regular pheasant season. These hunting contests do not utilize wild pheasants and event organizers have pointed out that 41:09:13:04 impedes their ability to take more than three captive pheasants once the regular pheasant hunting season has begun. The changes will allow for accountability to be retained, yet provide additional flexibility to organizers in regards to event dates.
  • There are distinct differences between hunting, where you need a license to take birds, and dog training where no hunting license is required
  • Commission finalized rules as proposed

Hunting Requirements and Prohibitions

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Proposal amends the definition of a bait station and creating additional restrictions on the times when bait stations are prohibited for attracting big game animals for the purpose of hunting. Sets a timeframe, Aug. 15 to Feb. 1, when baiting may not take place for hunting to occur in the same area. Conservation officers receive numerous calls each year on the legality of bait stations. In its current form, 41:06:04:03 allows for hunters to bait big game with corn piles, apple piles, and other bait stations provided all of the materials are cleaned up prior to hunting. There is no waiting period involved once the bait station is removed. Bait stations tend to alter the natural movement patterns of big game animals, often causing them to go nocturnal. They can also cause a delay in the dispersal from wintering grounds, concentrate herds on the property of those maintaining a bait station, and create refuges that can hamper population control efforts. Bait stations are not necessary to sustain healthy big game populations and can create vulnerability for opportunistic poaching of big game animals.
  • Commission finalized rules as proposed

Pet Prohibition Amendment (Big Sioux dog training area)

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • A dog training area will be developed on recently acquired property which has been incorporated into the Big Sioux Recreation Area west of Brandon. An exemption to the state park pet prohibition is needed to allow dogs off leash year round for training purposes. The rule modification will require that handlers keep dogs under reasonable control to avoid conflict with other dogs in the designated dog training area. The area will be fenced and signed as a “Dog Training Area” to help prevent dogs from leaving the designated area.
  • Commission finalized rule as proposed

Sheps Canyon Campground Fee

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • A campground complete with campsite electricity, a modern comfort station with showers, garbage facilities and security lighting is being developed at Sheps Canyon on the west shore of Angostura Reservoir in Fall River County. Prior to this development, public facilities at Sheps Canyon consisted of a boat ramp, parking lot and vault toilet. With these new recreational offerings and amenities, the area takes on the characteristics of a state recreation area as opposed to a lakeside use area. To help offset the development costs and the ongoing operating and maintenance costs for the new improvements, we are proposing to incorporate Sheps Canyon into the existing Angostura Recreation Area, thereby requiring that users of the area pay camping fees and possess valid park entrance licenses. We estimate that these fees will generate $40,000 annually.
  • Commission finalized rule as proposed

Emergency Rule: August Management Take season dates and daily bag limit

  • Just received a population of 269,000 that is up again from 225,000 last year; Canada geese population continues to climb making management very difficult; over 900 complaints so far this year, already 100 more than all of last year
  • Commission adopted an emergency rule to expand the management effort to control the Canada goose population through the use of the August Management Take hunting season
  • Season will start on the first Saturday in August (Aug. 4) and the daily limit will be increased from 8 to 15

Hunting Season Proposals
Duck hunting seasons

  • Status report for 2012 high duck count ever recorded coming off a very wet period with great reproduction thanks to carryover water from last fall; just shy of 5 million blue-winged teal and increase of 7% over last year; mallard very little change and down 1%; nearly every species of duck is well above their long-term average; Eastern Dakota Ducks down 1% from last year and 162% above long term average at 12.4 million
  • Canada geese at nearly 270,000 up 16% from last year; harvest last year nearly 139,000 up 11% from 2010 with a nearly identical number of goose hunters
  • Central Flyway trying to get a better handle on population and movement with a goal to collect survival, harvest estimates, and calculate an indirect population estimate for large Canada geese in the Flyway
  • SD resident duck hunters at 13,400
  • Lost about half of ponds in May pond count due to loss of water; losing approximately 2% of native prairie annually; potentially will lost over 200,000 acres of CRP; wetland consolidation and drainage escalating in eastern SD and will likely impact future breeding conditions for waterfowl
  • Proposed change to increase daily limit on redheads from 2 to 3; otherwise season structure will be unchanged from 2011; High Plains season Oct. 13-Jan. 17, Low Plains North & Middle Sept. 29-Dec. 11, and Low Plains South Oct. 13-Dec. 25; daily duck limit of 6 and may be comprised of no more than 5 mallards (of which no more than 2 hens), 3 wood ducks, 3 redheads, 2 scaup, 2 pintail, 1 canvasback

Goose hunting seasons

  • Proposed changes from 2011 would increase Canada goose daily bag limit from 3 to 5 and possession limit from 6 to 10 (contingent upon approval from the US Fish and Wildlife Service); also a correction to boundary unit for Units 1 and 2
  • Season dates for Canada Goose Unit 1 Oct. 1-Dec. 16, Unit 2 Nov. 3-Feb. 15, Unit 3 Jan. 12-20; Light Geese Sept. 29-Dec. 23
Division of Parks and Recreation

Information items
Blood Run updates

  • Phase 1 of Master Plan over the summer now have temporary parking and entrance; signage along highway to help public find the area; guided hikes on the area on Saturdays; have had special events including guided tours to potential donors and groups, neighbors and organized homeowner groups; Gov. Daugaard has now toured the area; donations are critical to moving forward with improvements and purchases; priority for Parks and Wildlife Foundation is to implement Phase 1 of Master Plan including purchase of crucial components to Blood Run; continue to work with tribal interests in the historical/cultural site on behalf of Native Americans, intend to host a forum in August for tribal interests; Iowa beginning to develop momentum on their interest to expand and improve the development of a park to preserve historic aspects of the area

Angostura Private Trailer Sewer Project

  • Department staff hosted an informational meeting in Hot Springs on April 25th for the owners of the 86 private exclusive use trailer in the two concessions managed areas at Angostura Recreation Area. The meeting was attended by 28 of the 86 owners. Along with HDR, GF&P explained the need to upgrade as well as the proposed plan of constructing a centralized sewer system for all trailers at Angostura. Individual systems are not being considered at current time as the centralized system is the safest, lowest risk alternative. The funding for this system would be proposed in a bond package which would be paid off by the users over a 20 year repayment period. Current estimates indicate that this would result in the annual rental fees doubling for each trailer. The viability of this plan hinges on the willingness of the trailer owners to participate in paying for the system through an earnest money payment as well as increases in their annual fees.
  • Total surveys received = 63; total “YES” to participation = 59
  • By voting “YES” to the participation survey, the owners are indicating their expectation that they will commit to this project financially by providing earnest money later this year, by paying for their individual connections to the system and through paying higher lot fees to amortize the project over the next 20 years. The earnest money payment would be applied to the debt incurred for this project and would demonstrate to the legislature their commitment to the project for the bonding authority.
  • Next will hire a consultant and so some final plans to give better cost estimates on development of systems for north and south trailer areas
  • Concession contract set to expire at the end of this year; a new lease has been drafted and will go out for bid; getting appraisal report of property that must be accepted by concessionaire; once reach settlement will come back to Commission and ask approval to move forward with RFP for new concession contract; plan to do that at August meeting

Campground Reservation Point of Sale System

  • Leisure Interactive has been selected for contract; in-state call center with 24-hour access and will use Lawrence & Schiller as the state contractor for calls

June Visitation and Revenue Report

  • Revenue up nearly 21% over 2011 and 16% over 2010
  • Camping units up 27% over 2011 and 14% over 2010
  • Visitation up nearly 20% over a year ago
Division of Wildlife
Action items
Proposals
  • Closure of waters to taking of bait: Modify waters closed to the commercial and noncommercial taking of bait to include East Vermillion River, West Vermillion River, and Firesteel Creek below Lake Mitchell; makes permanent the emergency rule passed the by Commission last month; the closures are being put in place to help prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species to waters of the state where they are not currently present; Commission approved proposal to make this a part of the permanent rule
  • Muzzleloading restrictions for weapons specific seasons: Requests have been received to allow peep sights and other optics that do not utilize magnification on muzzleloading rifles during seasons restricted to those weapons. Currently, only open sights may be utilized. Peep (aperture) sights are not considered open sights and are therefore illegal to use during the muzzleloader season. Past advancements in muzzleloader technology have improved the effectiveness of these hunting weapons. No longer a primitive weapon, muzzleloader enthusiasts desire the use of optics (red dot scopes, aim points, etc.) that improve their sight picture but do not magnify the object (i.e. 1x maximum). Additionally, the Department feels that the prohibition on smokeless powder has outlived its purpose and would like to allow commonly marketed products such as Blackhorn 209 to be used during muzzleloader-only seasons. Commission approved proposal of these rule changes. Commission approved for proposal.
  • Hunting accompaniment: Currently, a person licensed in a firearm big game season cannot be accompanied in the field by another person carrying a firearm or bow and arrow unless that individual has a firearm big game license valid for the same geographic area and time of year as the licensee. The licensed big game hunter is held as the responsible party if other armed individuals accompany him/her and do not have the same type of license. The proposed amendment would place the responsibility for adherence to the rule on the unlicensed big game hunter(s). In addition, the rule would allow a person who is legally licensed to hunt small game the ability to accompany a licensed big game hunter in the field provided the person hunting small game uses only a shotgun and shotshells. This rule would also clarify that a person hunting small game may not use dogs in the field while accompanying a licensed firearm big game hunter. Commission approved for proposal.
  • Wildlife rehabilitators permit and rules: Proposal will create a new chapter in rules for a formalized process to allow for the temporary care, rehabilitation and release of resident wildlife species; established to meet needs of non-migratory species; migratory bird rehabilitation is authorized by federal permits issued through the US Fish and Wildlife Service, so GFP recognizes federal permits for these activities. National standards will be used for permit holders. Must work out details for specifications on who will be allowed, what they will be able to do, and what testing might be required. Commission approved for proposal.
  • Possession of live furbearers: Delete rules for possession of live furbearers; based on staff research, this rule was enacted in part to allow trappers to possess wild furbearers for the purpose of extracting lure material. Artificial sources of lure material are readily available. As part of the development of a wildlife rehabilitation permit process, a number of South Dakota health professionals were contacted regarding this existing rule. They expressed a serious concern about potential disease transmission, i.e. rabies, tularemia, and Q-Fever. Additionally, many furbearers are obtained as young. Upon maturation, many people look to release those animals. However, locating a suitable release site can be difficult and may serve as little or no biological benefit to both the animal being released or the environment into which it is being released. Commission did not pass the suggested proposal and the associated rules remain unchanged.
  • Depredation Hunts: No changes from 2011 so this is finalized; a maximum of 600 permits in the regular depredation pool may be issued for potential depredation hunts between Dec. 1 and March 31; hunters are randomly ordered as part of the drawing for the pool and this is the order they are contacted if there is the need for a hunt; after Dec. 31 additional hunters will be registered in the pool in the order they apply; may issue up to 200 landowner/operator depredation permits in addition to the regular depredation permits with maximum of four per household. ELK: depredation pool hunters do not lose preference for regular elk drawing; 1 landowner permit may be issued for each qualifying ranch unit

Depredation Hunt Resolutions

  • Commission approved the annual resolution to authorize the use of depredation hunt pools for big game species other than mountain lion and elk; the depredation pools consist of hunters who apply for one of the limited openings, if there is a need for a depredation hunt the hunters are contacted and given instructions
  • A separate resolution was approved by the Commission to address potential elk depredation

Land Acquisition Resolutions

  • PWF Land Donation – Salzmann GPA – Lyman County; located 2 miles northeast of Iona; 160 acres of farmland, native and restored grassland, woody cover and wetlands; small impoundment on property also provides a fishery; expected closing date in August; there had been concern about access to the land and this area will be managed and operated the same as any Game Production Area; Commission passed the resolution approving the Wildlife Division proceeding with the purchase of the property
  • Zdenek Property – Bon Homme County; located 2 miles northwest of Tabor; 199 acres of privately owned farmland, grassland, trees, and wetland that has been operated as a farm and gravel pit; previous gravel operation created two ponds totaling 10 acres and now support a recreational fishery; 8th property involved in Tony Dean Acres public access purchase efforts; cost $500,000; closing date in August; Commission passed the resolution approving the Wildlife Division proceeding with the purchase of the property

Information items
Rocky Mountain Elk Annual Report

  • Tom Slowey represented RMEF with report on their efforts
  • 18 chapters conduct fund raising banquets bringing funds back to assist with management of South Dakota elk herd
  • Volunteers with the organization helped make $80,000 available for research, wildlife management and habitat enhancement work; $25,000 goes into grant funds for different projects
  • Have seen a decline in net revenue and feel part of that is associated with decline in elk herd and confinement of elk hunt to CSP; expanding open area for hunting with this tag should significantly expand the sales of the raffle permit
  • Requested that they be considered for the 2012-13

2012-13 Private Shooting Preserves permits

  • A total of 203 permits (18 new), an increase over the 197 permits in 2011-12
  • Last year preserves released over 386,000 pheasants and harvested a total of 243,000; 18% of birds harvested were wild pheasants
  • Three preserves took advantage of the expanded limit that was enacted for shooting preserves and harvested 16 or more pheasants per person in a single day; averaged 65.3 days when 16 or more harvested

2012 Antler Auction report

  • Held as part of Outdoor Expo in June
  • Approximately 85 bidders for 350 items (100 fewer bidders for 75 more items than 2010 auction)
  • The items auctioned were a compilation of items collected by GFP through the past couple of years
  • Gross receipts totaled $28,165 (compared to $30,150 in 2010); by statute these receipts are deposited into the GFP fund
  • Deer antlers - ~$7.87/lb. bulk avg. -- $10-$200 for individuals; Elk antlers - ~$5.46/lb. bulk avg. -- $45-$180 for individuals; Individual bighorn sheep skull/horns - $10-$610; Individual mountain lion skulls - $12.50-$60; Individual tree stands – up to $50; Individual bobcat pelts - $45-$455; Individual mountain lion hides - $25-$450

Missouri River reservoir fishery update

  • John Lott reported on recent fish kills have occurred in portions of NE South Dakota due to warm and oxygen depleted water; Roy Lake had a large carp die-off and staff assisted with carp cleanup; another kill on the James River near Stratford; also Lakes Norden, Mary and John have had die-offs; often a small, shallow are will be very warm and plants will use up oxygen in a certain area and fish will die of oxygen depravation
  • Mark Fincel updated on Lake Oahe and Lake Sharpe ongoing survey and research of the fishery status; have used public meetings and media to get information distributed; early this spring reports on “skinny” fish probably caused by unsuccessful spawn of gizzard shad last year due to cold water of flood runoff; this year a very good gizzard shad hatch; should see sport fish in Lake Sharpe in very good shape as summer goes along; average angling pressure on Lake Sharpe this year but record harvest due to high catch rates; will get tougher to catch fish as gizzard shad become more prevalent as prey source; salmon fishing has been above average with over 1,000 harvested, of Lake Oahe caught salmon 90-95% were from North Dakota; prey fish in Lake Oahe include clouds of baitfish that are likely lake herring; gizzard shad stocked to help compliment prey species available; good number of prey species of fish caught in larval trawl

Elk calf survival study update

  • CSP Elk research project centers out of Park and includes the Hill City area
  • Used to think CSP elk stayed in CSP, but found they move around quite a bit; seeing a lot of elk movement in and out of the Park, including for calving sites outside of the Park and on the prairie
  • Currently 40 cows are collared; pregnancy rate was 95%; 36 calf elk collared so far
  • 8 mortalities from mountain lion; 2 from coyote; one died due to abnormal birth; 1 lost while crossing a fence so still monitoring 24
  • Unit 2 elk study had same 95% pregnancy rate; mortality of these included 3 lost to lions and 2 collars that slipped off the elk
  • CSP study of lion habits collared 3 lions that preyed on collared elk; gathering limited data set on annual prey selection of lions we know eat calves; for lions collared 1 male took 4 elk calves and 1 WT fawn; 1 female took 2 elk calves, 2 marmots and 1 WT fawn; and 1 female took 1 elk calf, 2 WT fawn and 1 WT doe
  • So far CSP higher predation rates on elk calves have high predation than outside park

Miscellaneous updates

  • Bighorn sheep survey at about a 48% response