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GFP News - June 17, 2014

2014 deer hunting seasons finalized

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized all 2014 deer hunting seasons at their June meeting in Yankton.  The most notable change from last year will be the reduction in the number of licenses and tags available to hunters. 

The West River firearm season will have a 17 percent reduction in licenses and a 56 percent reduction in tags, while the East River firearm season has a reduction of 22 percent in licenses and a 41 percent reduction in tags.
“These adjustments are intended to increase the deer population in areas where populations are below desirable management levels,” said Tom Kirschenmann, chief administrator of wildlife.  

Deer hunters participating in the archery, muzzleloading and youth deer seasons will see decreases in the number of available deer licenses and where antlerless deer tags are valid. For the archery and muzzloading season, hunters will be limited to one antlerless license for each season and those licenses will only be valid for whitetail antlerless deer and in certain areas within the state. Youth deer hunters will be limited to one any antlerless deer tag but will be able to hunt statewide.

In addition, deer hunters with an archery, muzzleloading or youth deer license will be required to obtain a free access permit to hunt on the Hill Ranch Game Production Area in Fall River County (Unit 27L), Custer National Forest lands in Harding County (Unit 35L) and the Little Moreau Game Production Area in Dewey County (Unit 24B). Permits are free of charge and unlimited. The issuance of these permits will allow the department to collect important management information such as hunter use and harvest information from hunters who use these areas during these seasons.

For additional details on the materials provided to the Commission as well as the minutes from the June meeting, please visit:

2014 fall turkey, antelope and early fall goose seasons proposed

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed several hunting seasons at their June meeting in Yankton.

The proposed 2014 fall turkey hunting season includes some notable changes from the 2013 season. The proposed start dates would be moved back to Nov. 1 instead of beginning Oct. 1. The end date of Jan. 31 remains unchanged. Fall turkey hunters would see a reduction in turkey licenses available and closure of several West River and East River turkey hunting units. The Black Hills unit includes a boundary change which retains an open area on the eastern and southern tier of the Black Hills; including a reduction in licenses by 750.

The proposed 2014 firearm antelope hunting season would run from Oct. 4-19 and have 2,705 licenses available for residents and 61 licenses available for nonresidents. The proposed season would call for a closure of Tripp and Lyman counties as well as the Fort Pierre National Grasslands. If adopted as proposed, these three units would also be closed to archery antelope hunting.

The Custer State Park antelope hunting season will remain the same as last year as no actions were taken on this season. Three licenses are available and the season will run from Oct. 15-23.

The Commission proposed an early fall Canada goose season of Sept. 1-30. The Commission proposal would modify the boundaries of Unit 1 to include the portion of Perkins County west of S.D. Highway 75 and south of S.D. Highway 20 and expand Unit 2 by adding all of Custer, Fall River and Pennington counties.

As a result of the continual decline in the number of male sage grouse observed during the spring lek survey, the sage grouse season will remain closed in 2014.

The youth waterfowl hunting season will also remain under the same structure as 2013, which will run Sept. 20-21.
The Commission will take final action on these proposals on July 8-9, 2014, at the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Pierre. To view these rule proposals in their entirety, please visit Written comments on these proposals can be sent to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, S.D. 57501, or emailed to To be included in the public record, comments must be received by 12 p.m. CDT on July 8 and have your full name and city of residence.

roadside mowing: hold off until after july 10

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Departments of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and Transportation (DOT) want to remind individuals there are laws and rules governing when mowing of highway right-of-way ditches can begin.

“Roadside ditches provide valuable nesting cover, especially in portions of the state with limited lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program or other upland nesting habitat,” stated Tony Leif, GFP Division of Wildlife director. “This is especially important this year due to the drop in bird numbers we experienced last year. Our department is asking for the public’s consideration in delaying haying and mowing activities within roadside ditches and we want to thank individuals in advance for their help in protecting and sustaining the state’s pheasant population.”

In the spring and early summer, hen pheasants seeking suitable nesting locations are attracted to the vegetation in roadsides. Pheasant production in roadsides is diminished when roadsides are mowed prior to completion of nesting activity. Incubating hens nearing their hatch dates can be struck and killed by hay mowing equipment. Hens and newly hatched broods remain susceptible to mowing equipment for another two weeks after hatching due to the restricted mobility of chicks and the tendency of the hen and young to hide from approaching danger rather than flushing to escape.

GFP research has documented that being struck by hay-mowing equipment is a substantial source of hen pheasant mortality during the nesting and brood-rearing season in June and July; including hens nesting in roadsides. Please visit the below link to a game report for more information:

For additional details on the DOT mowing regulations, visit this link to a recently issued press release:

prairie dog control programs available

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Departments of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and Agriculture (SDDA) want ranchers and producers across the state to contact either agency if they have unwanted prairie dogs. 

 “Wildlife officials will help control prairie dogs that have encroached onto private land from adjacent public land,” said Keith Fisk, GFP wildlife damage program administrator. “Landowners who have property with at least 20 acres of prairie dog colonies within one mile of the public land are eligible for assistance.” 

If a landowner has a complaint regarding prairie dogs that are encroaching from public land, contact GFP at 605.773.5913 to request control. All complaints must be received by the deadline of Aug. 15, 2014. Once eligibility has been verified, GFP officials will control the invaded colony on the private land later this fall. 

“GFP provides assistance to many landowners across western South Dakota,” said Fisk.  “The deadline allows GFP sufficient time to coordinate the logistics of the control program.”

If a landowner has a complaint regarding prairie dogs encroaching from adjoining private land, contact the SDDA at 800.228.5254 to request control or visit for more information or to fill out the prairie dog complaint form.

The state’s prairie dog control program is cooperatively funded by the GFP and SDDA. GFP manages encroachment issues on private lands which have been encroached from adjacent public lands, while the SDDA manages complaints between private landowners. The South Dakota Prairie Dog Management Plan can be viewed online at:


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