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GFP News - July 30, 2013

Canada Goose Hunting Opens Aug. 3

PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakotans can get an early start to fall hunting on Saturday, Aug. 3 with a hunt designed to lower the population of Canada geese.

Resident Canada goose populations in many states have exploded over the past several years. South Dakota has been no exception, with a goose population that exceeds the level designated by state game managers.

"The Game, Fish and Parks Department works in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managing migratory waterfowl," Chad Switzer, GFP wildlife program administrator, said. "Ultimately the framework for waterfowl seasons is determined at the federal level and one of the provisions they have provided is this August Management Take Canada goose hunt."

The hunt is for South Dakota residents only, and will run from Aug. 3-31 in the counties of Brookings, Brown, Clark, Codington, Day, Deuel, Hamlin, Hanson, Grant, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Marshall, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Roberts, Spink, Turner, Union and Pennington County west of the Cheyenne River.

Resident hunters must have a 2013 small game or combination license, and the state migratory bird certification. The federal waterfowl stamp is not required for this August hunt.

The daily bag limit for Canada geese is 15 with no possession limit.

"The goal is to encourage a healthy harvest of geese to help bring the numbers more in line with our population goals," Switzer said. "Estimates placed the Canada goose population at approximately 270,000 birds in 2012. Our management goal is 80,000."

Hunters will be able to avail themselves of an opportunity to donate geese to the South Dakota Sportsmen Against Hunter program. Designated meat processors will take the geese at no charge to the hunter.

The list of participating processors can be found at

More information on the August Management Take for Canada geese can be found at

SD Game, Fish and Parks Honors Three Landowners for 25 Years of Hunting Access

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is honoring four individuals who have taken part in the agency's Walk-In Area program since its inception 25 years ago.

Access to land is an important part of hunting and the Walk-In Area program has played a major role in placing South Dakota among the nation's best hunting locations. Under the program, private land is leased for public access and there are currently over one million acres of private land enrolled across the state.

The program started in 1988 with 26 South Dakota landowners taking part. Now, 25 years later, three of those original 26 contracts still have land leased for Walk-In Area.

The four individuals involved in the three original contracts - Bud Thorpe, Dwight and Harold Wookey, and Robert Weber - will be honored at the GFP Commission meeting on Aug. 1.

"Their participation in the Walk-In Area hunting access program has significantly contributed to South Dakota's hunting heritage, culture, and economy," SD GFP Secretary Jeff Vonk said.

"Every year over 200,000 people hunt in South Dakota to spend time with family and friends, enjoy the great outdoors and provide food for their tables.  Having a place to go hunting is a hunter's primary concern, and these landowners have opened up opportunities for so many people," Tony Leif, director of GFP’s Wildlife Division, said. "Thank you to Bud, Dwight, Harold, Robert and everyone else who has partnered with Game, Fish and Parks and our Walk-In Area program over the past 25 years. Your cooperation has helped make this program a model for many other states."

Outdoor Campus Hosts 3rd Annual Outdoor University

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Outdoor University, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., August 3 in Sertoma Park is the best way to try something new outdoors.

The third annual event, hosted by SD Game, Fish and Parks, is a free family event where people can try canoeing, archery, air rifles, fishing, kayaking, and new this year, rock climbing. In addition to the activities, there is a birds of prey show from the Black Hills Raptor Center, hunting dog demonstrations, fish cleaning clinics and wildlife capture demonstrations, Thea Miller Ryan, director of The Outdoor Campus, said.

A kids' area, staffed by South Dakota State Parks features a gold mining sluice, soft target shooting and other fun outdoor park-setting games and crafts. Several other outdoor organizations will have booths with activities including the Sioux Falls Herpetological Society with snakes, and Isaac Walton League with aquatic insects. The TriState Astronomical Society will have telescopes at the event as well.

"There's something for absolutely every level of outdoor activities and enjoyment," Ryan said. "Spend an hour, or the whole day here. We have food and drink vendors, so plan to eat lunch here, too."

Parking in Sertoma Park is free and additional parking is available at the Sanford Clinic at Oxbow and 51st near the park entrance. For more information, call 605.362.2777 or go to , Sioux Falls.

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