GFP News - August 31, 2012
- Big Game Hunting Over Bait Prohibited
- S.D. part of nationwide trend in hunting/fishing participation
- GFP Encourages Producers to Take Steps to Protect Hay and Stored Feed Supplies
Big Game Hunting Over Bait Prohibited
PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is reminding hunters that hunting big game over bait is prohibited on all lands.
A person may not establish, utilize, or maintain a bait station when hunting from August 15 to February 1 to attract any big game animal, including wild turkey.
A bait station is a location where grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, hay, minerals, or any other natural food materials, commercial products containing natural food materials, or by-products of such materials are placed or maintained as an attractant to big game animals for the purpose of hunting.
The use of scents alone does not constitute a bait station. In addition, this restriction does not apply to foods that have not been placed or gathered by an individual and result from normal environmental conditions or accepted farming, forest management, wildlife food plantings, orchard management, or similar land management activities.
For more information, contact a local conservation officer or GFP Division of Wildlife Office.
S.D. part of nationwide trend in hunting/fishing participation
PIERRE, S.D. - If fishing license sales are any indication, South Dakota is in line with a recent study showing an increase in the number of hunters and anglers in the United States.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported preliminary results from their once-every-five-years study of hunting and fishing participation around the country. The study showed an 11 percent increase in the number of anglers over 2006.
Meanwhile, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department reports one of its best years in fishing license sales in some time. Nearly 67,000 resident annual fishing licenses have been sold so far in 2012, compared to 56,000 at the same time in 2011. In 2006, there were 56,000 licenses sold for the entire year.
Hunting has seen a less dramatic increase, but the Fish and Wildlife Service survey numbers showed an increase in hunter numbers for the first time in two decades. Numbers in South Dakota have been fairly consistent over the past several years. With hunting seasons just beginning to open many license sales have not taken place, so it will be late in the year before 2012 can be compared to past years.
Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates - a leading research and data analysis firm focused on the sportfishing and hunting industries - says there are several factors that may be part of the increase.
"The slow economy has certainly had an impact," Southwick said. "When the economy took a hit, a lot of people went back to enjoying more traditional activities that were also less costly than other options. Fishing license sales and tackle sales data all back that up."
Another factor may be efforts by states, organizations and businesses to recruit and retain more anglers and hunters.
South Dakota, like many other states, has been active in promoting outdoor activities and in particular participation in hunting and fishing. GFP has worked with national organizations such as the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and National Shooting Sports Foundation, as well as other businesses and organizations with an interest in promoting these sports.
"It is a very rewarding experience when our staff introduces men and women, both young and old, to hunting and fishing," said Tony Leif, director of the GFP Division of Wildlife. "We feel as though we are not only perpetuating a great South Dakota tradition, but also a way for our citizens to enjoy the many outdoor opportunities our state has to offer."
Leif pointed to the work at GFP's Outdoor Campuses in both Sioux Falls and Rapid City, as well as numerous one-day events GFP hosted throughout the summer in locations around the state that all offered hands-on experience in shooting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits.
"The activities we host at our Outdoor Campuses and across the state in various communities are an open invitation for South Dakotans to become acquainted with the outdoor adventures our state has to offer. My hope is that after a sample of the fun, these folks will become life-long anglers and hunters," Leif said.
For more information about hands-on learning opportunities through GFP, visit their website at http://gfp.sd.gov/outdoor-learning/ .
GFP Encourages Producers to Take Steps to Protect Hay and Stored Feed Supplies
PIERRE, S.D. - Even though South Dakota is still in the last stages of a hot and dry summer, Game, Fish and Parks Department officials are encouraging farmers and ranchers to begin thinking about the importance of protecting alfalfa, hay and other stored feed supplies from wintering wildlife.
"With the effects of this year's drought, we know that hay and other feed supplies will be even more valuable this coming winter," GFP Wildlife Damage Program Administrator Keith Fisk said. "If South Dakota experiences a normal winter where we have even average accumulations of snow it will be important for producers to consider taking some proactive steps that will reduce the potential for wildlife damage."
Fisk added that many producers have reported they've been able to reduce or prevent wildlife damage just by giving some careful thought to where they locate their winter livestock feed.
"If producers have chronic problems with wildlife damage despite their best efforts, we want to make sure they're aware that GFP has several cost-share programs available to help protect their feed supplies," Fisk said.
Over the past 15 years, GFP has developed several wildlife damage abatement programs which provide cost-share assistance to producers.
One program helps supply protective panels that can be temporarily loaned to producers to help protect feed supplies. Another program actually helps producers fund the purchase and construction of stackyards or other protective fencing measures.
Because GFP's Wildlife Damage Program is funded entirely with hunting license fees, producers are asked to sign an agreement that states they don't charge for hunting access and they'll agree to allow a reasonable amount of free public access for hunting.
"Permanent stackyards work well for producers who have specific locations where they store hay or other feed every year," said Fisk. "Our portable panel program has also become popular with producers over the last few years. The great thing about the panels is they allow producers some flexibility in where they place feed supplies from year-to-year."
Ensuring an adequate harvest of big game animals on an annual basis remains the best tool available to help producers reduce wildlife damage on their property. However, should producers experience wildlife damage from concentrations of deer, elk or turkeys, GFP encourages them to contact a GFP representative as soon as possible.
Since 2005, GFP has worked with more than 800 individual producers to provide financial assistance to help them build permanent stackyards or purchase protective panels. On an annual basis, GFP expends more than $2.5 million to assist producers with a wide variety of programs designed to help reduce damages caused by wildlife.
For more information or assistance, producers may contact their local Wildlife Damage Specialist or GFP Division of Wildlife office.