Commission meeting archives


april 2013 Commission Meeting

April 4-5, 2013
Winner - Holiday Inn Express

Rules Proposed at this Meeting


Division of Administration Audio

Action Items
Approve minutes of the March meeting
Additional Commissioner Salary Days
License List Requests

  • Johnson Fur Company, Willmar MN, for list of East River furbearer license holders to contact them and inform them about their buying locations; approved

Information items
License Sales Report

  • License sales have fallen behind 2012 sales during same period by 16.5%; likely due to a big difference in weather between last spring (very warm) and this spring; typically see 60% of fishing license sales by end of May and 70% by end of June

Open Forum Audio

  • Russ Roberts rancher from St. Onge; spoke to Commission on proposed season for West River Deer and later start based on Thanksgiving rather than second Saturday in November, because of how Thanksgiving falls this year the start will be the Third Saturday; feels there are a lot of people caught unaware by this change and they have to put in vacation time early; feels it is not biologically the best thing for deer herd, Wyoming has backed season out of Thanksgiving Holiday, adding hunting pressure during the peak of the rut will increase harvest of bucks and in particular mule deer bucks, feels later start will result in the harvest of too many older bucks
  • Also spoke on changing system for issuing landowner tags, when apply for a landowner tag put in section range and township then issued the license if enough available in the draw; when apply for special buck must put in telephone number and name for landowner but says this information is never checked; by not checking licenses are now being issued to landowners who don't qualify and special buck applications who don't qualify; suggests that a system using an ID number be initiated to help verify license issuance

  • Russ Williams would like to see an earlier drawing process so that people who are coming to SD to hunt know whether or not they will have a license and can make their plans, would like to see accepting nonresident applications in December and January as soon as the deer hunting season for the previous years closes; all hunters apply for special buck and then must wait for regular drawing process if unsuccessful and they don't know if they will get to come hunt until August; clients will often pheasant and turkey hunt when come for a deer hunt; like to propose a landowner issue tag at the special buck tag price and landowner can purchase tags at that price up to one tag per section then could secure licenses and begin lining up hunts for the following year

Public Hearing at 2 PM Audio

Finalizations Audio
Sheps Canyon Lodge Fee

  • No recommended changes from proposal
  • This will add Sheps Canyon Lodge to list of group lodging camping permit fees in rule
  • Fee will be $240/night for the first 12 people age 12 and over, plus $17 for each additional person age 12 and older
  • Commission finalized as proposed

CSP Non-trophy Bison Hunting Season

  • Recommended change from proposal will add a "preference point only" unit where no license is issued; this will accommodate the change in the license allocation process adding the preference system
  • Season dates Oct. 5-Nov. 22
  • Applicants will now apply through the GFP License office
  • Issue 15 non-trophy bull and 10 cow licenses; 7 non-trophy bull and 5 cow licenses allocated to residents with preference in the first drawing; remaining licenses would be available to both resident and nonresident applicants in a second drawing
  • License fee $2250 for non-trophy bull and $1750 for cow
  • Commission voted to amend the original as recommended and then finalized as amended

CSP Trophy Bison Hunting Season

  • Recommended change from proposal will add a "preference point only" unit where no license is issued; this will accommodate the change in the license allocation process adding the preference system
  • Season dates Nov. 25-Jan. 10
  • Applicants will now apply through the GFP License office
  • Issue 8 licenses; 2 trophy bull licenses allocated to residents with preference in the first drawing; remaining licenses would be available to both resident and nonresident applicants in a second drawing
  • License fee $2250 for non-trophy bull and $1750 for cow
  • Commission voted to amend the original as recommended and then finalized as amended

CSP Elk Hunting Seasons

  • Firearms "Any" Elk Season will run from Sept. 15-30; 4 licenses available, 1 of those set aside for annual elk license raffle fund raiser
  • Early Archery Season will run from Sept. 1-30; 3 "Any" elk licenses available
  • Commission approved both and season structure will be same as 2012

Archery Elk Hunting Season

  • Recommended change from proposal to increase "Any" elk license in Unit 1 from 15 to 20, and in Unit 2 from 40 to 50
  • Season dates Sept. 1-30
  • Commission voted to amend the original proposal as recommended and then finalized as amended

Black Hills Elk Hunting Season

  • Recommended change from proposal to increase Unit 1 "Any" elk licenses from 60 to 75 and "Antlerless" elk licenses from 30 to 40; increase Unit 2 "Any" elk licenses from 200 to 250
  • Even with recommended license increase, this number of licenses will still allow an increase in the elk population
  • Season dates Oct. 1-31 for "Any" elk and Oct. 16-31 & Dec. 1-15 for "Antlerless elk
  • Commission voted to amend the original proposal as recommended and then finalized as amended

Prairie Elk Hunting Season

  • No recommended changes from proposal
  • Season dates and license numbers vary by unit
  • Application deadline for lottery license drawing for all elk seasons will be May 17 (May 22 at 8 a.m. for online)
  • Portion of Unit 30 that was shared with Nebraska will now be S.D. only
  • Commission finalized as proposed

Hunting Seasons Proposals Audio
Nonresident Waterfowl Licenses

  • Much of license guidelines for nonresident waterfowl are set up through state law by the South Dakota legislature and the legislature made no changes to law this past session; no recommended changes from 2012 and Commission made no changes so season is finalized with same structure as last year
  • Season dates will not be set until the US Fish & Wildlife Service provides the federal guidelines
  • Unit and License Numbers:
    (1)Unit NRW-00A: the counties of Union, Clay, Yankton, Bon Homme, and Charles Mix. No more than 250 special nonresident waterfowl licenses may be issued;
    (2)Unit NRW-00B: all open counties not in Units NRW-00A or NRW-11A. No more than 3,725 special nonresident waterfowl licenses may be issued;
    (3)Unit NRW-00C: northeastern counties as described in § 41:06:50:02. No more than 2,000 early fall Canada goose temporary nonresident waterfowl licenses may be issued;
    (4)Unit NRW-11A: Bennett County. No more than 25 special nonresident waterfowl licenses may be issued. The season in this unit is open for 65 consecutive days beginning on the third Saturday of October and during any period that Bennett County is open in January;
    (5)Unit NRW-00X: the counties of Potter, Stanley, Sully, Hughes, and Lyman. No more than 1,500 fall three-day temporary nonresident waterfowl licenses may be issued. These licenses are valid only on private property as provided by SDCL 41-6-18.4;
    (6)Unit NRW-00Y: the counties of Brown, Marshall, Roberts, Day, Grant, Clark, Codington, Deuel, and Hamlin. No more than 500 three-day temporary nonresident waterfowl licenses may be issued;
    (7)Unit NRW-ST1: statewide. No more than 10,000 spring snow goose temporary nonresident licenses may be issued. These licenses are valid only during a Conservation Order.
    Special Canada Goose Hunting Season
  • No recommended changes from 2012 and Commission made no changes so season is finalized with same structure as last year
  • Bennett County only
  • Season dates Oct. 19 - Dec. 22
  • 800 three-tag resident licenses plus 25 two-tag nonresident
  • Geese must be taken in accordance with regular season bag limits, possession limits and shooting hours

Tundra Swan Hunting Season

  • No recommended changes from 2012 and Commission made no changes so season is finalized with same structure as last year
  • Open in all counties east of Missouri River except Charles Mix, Bon Homme, Yankton, Clay, Union, Lincoln, Turner, Hutchinson and Douglas
  • Season Dates Sept. 28 through end of light goose hunting season (set in early August by US Fish & Wildlife)
  • 1,100 resident licenses and 200 nonresident licenses available
Division of Parks and Recreation Audio

Action Items
Off-season camping rates proposal

  • Recommended change would eliminate the $2.00 differential in camping fees during cold weather periods when restroom and shower facilities are closed
  • Currently, state park camping fees are reduced by $2.00 during the winter when cold weather requires closure of restroom and shower facilities. Park managers try to keep these facilities open as long as possible. Even though winter campground use is limited, the department plows snow from campground roads to keep a sufficient number of campsites available. Campsite electricity is also available throughout the winter. Winter programming is also provided in many parks (groomed ski trails, snowshoe hikes, ice-fishing derbies, birding walks, and more. The department incurs costs to offer winter camping opportunities. Camping use is minimal during the winter months. The proposed elimination of the $2.00 reduction during the winter will affect a minimal number of park users while helping the department recover some of the added cost of snow removal and providing winter recreation opportunity.
  • Commission proposed as recommended

Pennington County land transfer

  • Commission approved a resolution authorizing the Parks Division to allow transfer to title to property along the Mickelson Trail to GFP
  • Property owned by Department of Transportation, property too small for placing a building so of little luse to DOT, will be transferred at no cost
  • Approximately .3 acres and located on the north side of US Hwy 16 about 3 miles south of Hill City
  • Property will provide additional recreation opportunity for trail users

Dock 44 Concession Amendment

  • Located at Snake Creek Recreation Area; restaurant, bar and convenience store
  • Concession amendment will allow video lottery but does not require, must have GFP approval
  • A portion of lottery receipts that are end revenues will become part of franchise fees
  • Machines must be enclosed and separated from other concession services
  • Building modifications, if any, would be at concessionaries expense
  • Commission approved amendment to Concession

Information Items
Sheps Canyon horse trails

  • Even before purchase of Hills Property worked in cooperation with other agencies to maximize recreational use of the lands; intent was to extend horseback riding trails through area to USFS land and develop and equestrian trail
  • USFS requested a special use application for development of trails and provided in January 2012; also made application to Bureau of Reclamation and have received approval from BOR to construct trails
  • Projected is budgeted but will delay implementation to pursue development and coordinate with agencies

Building Committees

  • Success with a couple bills this past session that will lead to some large-scale projects and 3 will require committees to put together project; committee to include State Engineer, Dept. Secretary or designee, member of governing commission to work with contractor for design project
  • 3 projects are Cedar Shores bank stabilization, CSP visitor center, and Blood Run phase 1 development and visitor center
  • Will require 3 different building committees
  • Hope to convene all 3 in the next 60 days and will need to appoint GFP Commissioner to sit on each
  • Tentative July 19 for dedication for Good Earth State Par
Division of Wildlife

Information Items

SD Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffle elk tag drawing Audio

  • 18 chapters in SD conduct fund raisers every year; funds directed to on-the-ground projects that benefit elk; last year over $63,000 and this year will distribute over $64,000; revenue from sale of CSP elk tag $17,500 due somewhat to news of low elk populations; this year there has been a 16% increase so far so hope to be back around $20,000 from elk tag auction
  • May Commission meeting is May 2-3 but Brandon RMEF meeting is May 3 and Rapid City is May 4 so requesting permission to hold drawing after Commission meeting at Rapid City banquet on May 4 and Commission agreed
  • Director Leif praised the partnership with RMEF and presented the group with a plaque honoring their work on behalf of elk in S.D.; RMEF has 150,000 members in the U.S. and has protected and enhanced more than 4.3 million acres of wildlife habitat; locally provided $70,000 for elk research in Black Hills and $15,000 for funding the elk movement project

Animal Damage Control program adjustment

  • 2013 legislature provided an additional $1 surcharge added to ADC program and that is already being collected; program is mandated in state statute to help landowners with wildlife-related problems; may be from beaver, prairie dog, raccoons and so forth
  • Started in 1974 to assist ag producers; received federal funds in early years to help with program but those went away in early 2000s; signed memorandum of agreement to work with USDA-Wildlife Services to do some work
  • 24 full-time wildlife damage specialists and 1 seasonal on staff; coyote control and aerial hunting, and beaver control take up 75% of funding
  • From 2011 on baseline funding has been around $1 million and additional surcharge will increase by about $320,000
  • Plan for 2014 will be to shift districts from 24 WDM specialists and add 3 new positions; add full time for Wall, Mitchell and Webster
  • Have contracted for some additional aerial predator control services; USDA has 1 airplane and gunner available stationed out of Spearfish, but sequestering will impact that service; pay for some contract flying in eastern SD; partnering with predator control districts to do more aerial predator control work
  • Since 2001 spent over $6.1 million for predator control primarily coyote and fox
  • With additional funding being collected we have been able to expand services and make sure most important needs are being met but that means other work would not get done without the additional staffing; will be moving forward with hiring process as part of FY14 budget process

Bighorn sheep auction tag update Audio

  • March 23 auction in Minneapolis part of Midwest Chapter of Wild Sheep Foundation
  • Sold for $102,000 to a SD resident
  • Information and funds have been mailed to GFP
  • Funds will be part of a separate line item that will account for those funds as income and expenses
  • Working group will be put together and GFP will work with them on priorities and future plans

Big game season structure

  • Season dates are proposed in March and finalized in April; this year the Commission made no changes at proposal so seasons were final with the April hearing
  • Overlap of Firearms Antelope opener and Archery Deer opener on same weekend because of rule set up for season opener and how the calendar falls this year; this same occurrence will happen in 2019
  • Start of West River and East River deer seasons one weekend later than most years; these seasons are based off Thanksgiving weekend to ensure that they will be open for that holiday; Thanksgiving falls later this year than most years; 2014 and 2019 the start date for WR Deer will be the third weekend in November

Sturgis remnant highway lot property disposal Audio

  • Several tracks of land have been disposed of as part of Marcotte property as Sturgis expanded; in one case a narrow band of property was part of an agreement that when easement for Interstate interchange was no longer in use the land returned to original owner which was GFP
  • Property has been appraised and consulted with DOT; property appraised at $40,000 as light industrial property so it is marketable; land is still on GFP tax rolls
  • Will bring this as an action item next month to ask approval from Commission to move property

ANS awareness campaign

  • Mike Smith, ANS Coordinator, gave the Commission a look at some of the awareness work that is being put in place
  • Hope is that with a raised awareness public will recognize destructive nature of these aquatic and other nuisance species and will be more cognizant about actions they take that might lead to spread
  • Around 90% of public has some awareness of ANS; have used Fishing Handbook, signage, news and some other means to share message but looking at other ways to spread the message
  • Must have a message that is unified and accurate
  • Working with Lawrence & Schiller, a marketing contractor to help spread message; contractor will assist in message and especially in creative ways to share that message
  • Created a logo for immediate recognition that this is an official ANS message
  • Ideas include a series of 3-4 billboards that dramatically show an increase in Asian Carp; radio messages that dramatize the message; signage with a unified message and logo, with targeted placement at certain boat docks; advertise above gas station pumps and put a vinyl wrap on an ice machine at convenience stores or bait shops
  • Update website and smartphone apps with message
  • May do some marketing that includes boat dealers to put an Asian carp cutout in the livewell of new boats being sold
  • Have purchased an ANS boat wash station that can be moved around the state, will feature ANS wrap and will travel to different busy boat access points to encourage boat washing

Bowhunter education Audio

  • Program established in 1992 and in 1993 every new bowhunter and all under age 16 must go through bowhunter ed course; done in conjunction with SD Bowhunter Incorporated; over past 20 years almost 26,000 have gone through the course
  • Delivery of course has not been changed in those 20 years; few classes are offered in fall and those seeking courses then have problems finding one; met with some of SDBI and considered ideas for delivering courses in a timeframe that met the customers needs
  • There is an Internet process in place that has a field day as part, but field day isn't always available; one of the options would be a complete on-line course; also hold more traditional classes; re-arrange schedule so more offered close to hunting seasons; would not require any rule changes to implement

Planned educational activities Audio

  • Step Outside-type programs are planned throughout the state this summer in communities and usually in partnership with local groups
  • Classes are focused on youth and family with encouragement on family involvement in outdoor activities which makes it part of the family tradition
  • Activities in each event depend on location, but may including hunting, fishing, boat and kayak, camping and many more
  • Biggest events are the Outdoor University programs at both Outdoor Campuses
  • All events are free and open to the public

2012 pheasant and grouse harvest estimates

  • Harvest in 2012 was 1.43 million compared to 1.56 million in 2011
  • Harvest for 10 yr average 1.8 million and 20 yr average is 1.53 million
  • Hunter numbers in 2012 were similar to 2011
  • Population was slightly lower than 10 and 20 year averages
  • Since 2007 have since steady decline in pheasant abundance; 500,000 acre decline in CRP and weather conditions
  • Harvest per square mile was similar to last year and James River valley seemed to have the best
  • Declines in harvest in central parts of the state; prevalent drought especially in Chamberlain area
  • Pheasant harvest usually trends with summer roadside brood survey, but not a perfect prediction
  • 30 roosters and 45 hens translocated to Hill Ranch property to establish a population there
  • Prairie Grouse harvest from past year was near 50,000 similar to past few years despite poor grouse production last year; if drought conditions persist the population and harvest will dip
  • Now less than 1 million acres of grassland CRP as sodbusting steadily increases; loss of wetlands with drought and tile draining; loss of habitat for game birds and waterfowl

Elk population survey and movement project Audio

  • Did another push from Wind Cave into Custer State Park and wound up with 389 elk moved into CSP; 26 had radio collars so can track movement and mortality; elk are hanging in corner of CSP right now but hopeful they will move further into the Park; will review how this goes and if there is a need for similar pushes in the future
  • 20 staff and over 170 hours put into elk survey, spent about a month working on this; aerial survey incudes formulas that are factored in to account for animals that are not observed; mapped all elk groups to account for overlap and double-counts; photographed groups of more than 50 to check with a count of elk in the picture; largest herd was in unit 1 and had nearly 900 elk; bulk of animals in that unit 2 were in the Jasper Fire area
  • Modeled estimates 3800 in Unit 2; 700 in Unit 3; Unit 9 had 0 but there are a few elk there; these are winter counts when elk tend to migrate to Jasper Fire area; over 2000 cows and 860 calves; 5100 elk total excluding inside the Parks
  • 484 counted in Wind Cave after hazing effort; CSP around 500
  • Around 6100 total; did not fly Wyoming Black Hills so unknown number there and some movement back and forth across state lines
  • Bull ratio 28 bulls per 100 cows, similar to past 3-4 years
  • Will try to use scientific data from this aerial survey to go back over several previous years and see if staff can re-calculate a correction for elk population estimates
  • Gathering historical documents and working on process of updated elk management plan; will review elk population goals with new data and scientific methods, look at elk movement and special consideration to elk depredation issues
  • All hunters who harvest an elk are asked to submit incisor teeth; can estimate age of animal by wear on teeth; 53% of aged bulls are 4 years or older
  • Unit 2 is biggest elk area and predominately public land; Unit 1 also predominately private; Unit 3 and southern Hills are more private land; Unit 4 and 9 are private land around CSP and Wind Cave, season currently closed in these two units

Lower Oahe goose hunting access area report Audio

  • Started in 1997 through meetings with legislators and other interests in waterfowl hunting license distribution and access; created 2,000 3-day licenses available on private land only in central South Dakota countered with this additional public hunting opportunity
  • Located north of Pierre; around 36,000 acres in the program
  • Hunters register at a field office and are spread out in 51 registration fields with some other fields that are come-and-go; include some goose hunting pits
  • Primarily waterfowl, but there are some of these areas that allow other upland game hunting
  • Provide weekly counts on waterfowl numbers through GFP website to keep hunters updated of current status
  • Loaner decoys available in the fields
  • This past year was among the best with high hunter satisfaction; harvest at all-time high with over 3500 geese just from the registration fields
  • Hunters come from throughout SD and even a few from surrounding states
  • Annual youth hunt in early January has gone on for several years and is very popular

Mountain lion season summary Audio

  • Harvest of 61 total lions; first year lion season harvest limit was not met
  • 35 females and 26 males; 7 taken in CSP and 6 with hounds, 4 in the last hound season
  • 10 lions with functioning radio collars were taken and another 3 with non-functioning collars
  • Will be able to calculate data from collared lions
  • 4,351 licenses sold compared to around 3700 last, this was record high for sales
  • Will follow up season with hunter survey
  • Last year 13 lions taken in and around CSP, this year 12
  • In 2012 there were 122 total mortalities; so far this year 17 non-hunting mortality and 65 total since Jan. 1
  • A few illegal lions taken are under investigation
  • 3 lions have been taken outside the Black Hills Fire Protection District but do not count against Black Hills harvest limit
  • A Wyoming tagged lion was taken and is first documented animal taken from another state
  • Wyoming hunting season has 3 areas with harvest limits and 1 no limit; 62 lions taken in limited areas

Spring Canada goose take permit update Audio

  • These hunts have been in place beginning April 1 with selected hunters out hunting Canada geese
  • One Sportsmen Against Hunger facility said 2 individuals brought in 21 geese the first day
  • There is some concern with the migration that hunters might take migrants rather than resident geese; have worked with waterfowl staff to provide educational materials for hunters to help them focus on resident geese including size and what their call sounds like
  • Pairs are already setting up nests
  • This take permit runs through April and will be able to bring updated figures when completed


Next Meeting
May 2-3, 2013
Custer State Park, Creekside Resort