GFP News - June 17, 2013

  • Live Raptor Programs
  • Deer Hunting Seasons Finalized
  • South Dakota Antelope Hunting Season Proposed
  • GFP Commission Proposal Would Close 2013 Sage Grouse Season
  • September Canada Goose Hunting Season Proposed
  • GFP Commission Proposes Rule for Wolf Inspection
  • SD GFP Commission Re-proposes Bobcat Season
  • SD GFP Commission Finalizes August Management Take For Goose and the Fall Turkey Hunting Season
  • GFP Emphasizing Boating Safety

Live Raptor Programs

PIERRE, S.D. - Programs originally planned for Bald Eagle Awareness Days in February have been rescheduled for the weekend of June 21-23.

People can choose from three free events. On Friday, June 21, educators from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota will bring live birds of prey to the Dakota Prairie Playhouse with a program beginning at 2 p.m. The playhouse is at 820 N. Washington in Madison, on the north edge of the Dakota State University campus.

Programs move to Pierre on Saturday, June 22, in association with Oahe Days. Programs begin at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Pierre Chamber of Commerce Building, located at 800 West Dakota Avenue.

The final program begins at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 23, at the Game, Fish and Parks' Outdoor Campus-East in Sioux Falls, located at 4500 S. Oxbow Avenue.

This annual event is sponsored by conservation and outdoor recreation organizations, merchants and conservation agencies to increase public involvement and awareness about bald eagles and other birds of prey. All ages are encouraged to attend.

For more information about Bald Eagle Awareness Days, visit our internet site at: http://gfp.sd.gov/outdoor-learning/bald-eagle-awareness-days/default.aspx or contact Eileen Dowd Stukel with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks at 605.773.4229.

Deer Hunting Seasons Finalized

PIERRE, S.D. - The Game, Fish and Parks Commission has finalized all 2013 South Dakota deer hunting seasons.

The online application process for the hunting seasons will open in mid-June. A new paper application including all deer seasons will be available later this month. Deadline dates for submission of applications will vary and are specified within the application.

East River Deer season dates are Nov. 23-Dec. 8 for all tags, and Dec. 29-Jan. 5 for antlerless tags only. The deadline for license lottery applications is Aug. 30.

The West River Deer season will run from Nov. 16-Dec. 1 for all tags; except Gregory and Mellette counties will run from Nov. 2-5 and Nov. 18-24, and Dewey, Ziebach and Corson counties will run from Nov. 2-24. The season will be open in all areas Dec. 29-Jan. 5 for antlerless tags only. Deadline for license lottery applications is July 19.

Additional seasons, season dates and application deadlines are as follows:

  • Black Hills Deer, Nov. 1-30 for all tags, application deadline July 19
  • Custer State Park Deer, Nov. 2-15, application deadline July 19
  • The Archery Deer season will run from Sept. 28-Dec. 31 for all tags. In addition, antlerless tags will be valid from Jan. 1-15.
  • The Muzzleloader Deer season will run from Dec. 1-31 for all tags. In addition, antlerless tags will be valid from Jan. 1-15. Deadline for license lottery application for the limited Any Deer tags available is Aug. 30.
  • The National Wildlife Refuge Deer seasons have various starting dates within each refuge. Deadline for license lottery applications is Aug. 30.
  • The Youth Deer season will run from Sept. 14-Jan. 15.

Application information for these deer hunting seasons will be available online through the GFP website at www.gfp.sd.gov beginning in mid-June.

South Dakota Antelope Hunting Season Proposed

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has proposed changes to the 2013 firearms antelope hunting season.

One proposed change would reduce the number of licenses available in the resident-only season. There would be 165 fewer one-tag licenses and 345 fewer two-tag licenses than were available in 2012.

Another proposed change would close two units due to low antelope numbers: Unit 45A that encompasses most of Lyman County and Unit 45B, the Fort Pierre National Grasslands unit. Closing these two firearm units would also close these areas to the archery antelope season.

Season dates for the 2013 firearms antelope season would be Sept. 28-Oct. 13.

In addition to proposing the firearms antelope season, the Commission finalized the Custer State Park antelope hunting season with no changes from 2012. There will be three any antelope licenses available for season dates Oct. 15-23.

The antelope hunting season proposal will be finalized at the July 8-9 GFP Commission meeting, which will be held in Pierre at the Ramkota RiverCentre. To view the full proposals on those seasons, visit: www.gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/default.aspx and look under the "Rule Proposals" heading.

To comment on any of the proposals, send a letter to: South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501; or email wild.info@state.sd.us. Comments on proposal will be taken until 5 p.m. CDT on June 5. To be included in the public record, please include your full name and city of residence.

To comment in person on these proposed rule changes, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. CDT as part of their meeting on Monday, July 8.

GFP Commission Proposal Would Close 2013 Sage Grouse Season

PIERRE, S.D. - The Game, Fish and Parks Commission has proposed closing the 2013 Sage Grouse hunting season in South Dakota.

The proposal comes from GFP staff recommendations based on spring lek survey results.

"We have seen a downward trend in the number of male sage grouse on their breeding grounds," Chad Switzer, GFP wildlife program administrator, said. "The number of male sage grouse counted on our priority leks dropped below the 100 threshold.  Following the actions outlined in the existing management plan, we recommended the sage grouse season close for 2013."

South Dakota has held a restricted season since 2000 by offering a two-day season with one bird per hunter per season. In 2012 there were 35 hunters who harvested nine sage grouse.

The proposal to close the 2013 sage grouse hunting season will be finalized at the July 8-9 GFP Commission meeting, which will be held in Pierre at the Ramkota RiverCentre. To view the full proposals on those seasons, visit: www.gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/default.aspx and look under the "Rule Proposals" heading.

To comment on any of the proposals, send a letter to: South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501; or email wild.info@state.sd.us. Comments on proposal will be taken until 5 p.m. CDT on June 5. To be included in the public record, please include your full name and city of residence.

To comment in person on this proposed rules change, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. CDT as part of their meeting on Monday, July 8.

September Canada Goose Hunting Season Proposed

PIERRE, S.D. - Changes proposed by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission would adjust the start date for the September Canada goose hunting season.

The proposed change would move the start date from the first Saturday in September to September 1. In addition, the Commission proposed to modify the boundaries of Units 1 and 2 near the Missouri River. Adjusting boundaries will provide future Canada goose hunting opportunities in Tripp County and portions of Charles Mix County (east of Highway 281 and north of Highway 46) by adding these areas to Unit 2.

The season would be open from Sept. 1-30 with a daily limit of 15 Canada geese and possession limit of 30. Nonresidents are not allowed to hunt in the counties of Beadle, Brookings, Hanson, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Sanborn, Turner and Union.

In addition, the Commission finalized the Youth Waterfowl season with no changes and will run Sept. 21-22. This season is open to both resident and nonresident youth who have not reached the age of 16 by the first day of the season. Limits and regulations will be the same for standard duck and goose seasons.

The September Canada goose hunting season proposal will be finalized at the July 8-9 GFP Commission meeting, which will be held in Pierre at the Ramkota RiverCentre. To view the full proposals on those seasons, visit: www.gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/default.aspx and look under the "Rule Proposals" heading.

To comment on any of the proposals, send a letter to: South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501; or email wild.info@state.sd.us. Comments on proposal will be taken until 5 p.m. CDT on June 5. To be included in the public record, please include your full name and city of residence.

To comment in person on this proposal, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. CDT as part of their meeting on Monday, July 8.

GFP Commission proposes rule for wolf inspection

PIERRE, S.D. - Following up on a law enacted during the 2013 South Dakota legislative session, the Game, Fish and Parks Commission has proposed a rule to require inspection of any wolf taken.

Wolves east of the Missouri River in South Dakota are under state management. State law allows wolves to be taken - either shot, hunted or trapped - in this area. West of the Missouri River wolves are currently protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The new rule proposed by the GFP Commission would require mandatory inspection of any harvested wolf. Anyone who harvests a suspected wolf must contact a Conservation Officer within 24 hours of the kill and submit the wolf for inspection to a department representative within 48 hours of taking the animal.

The wolf inspection proposal will be finalized at the July 8-9 GFP Commission meeting, which will be held in Pierre at the Ramkota RiverCentre. To view the full proposals on those seasons, visit: www.gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/default.aspx and look under the "Rule Proposals" heading.

To comment on any of the proposals, send a letter to: South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501; or email wild.info@state.sd.us. Comments on proposal will be taken until 5 p.m. CDT on June 5. To be included in the public record, please include your full name and city of residence.

To comment in person on the proposed rule, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. CDT as part of their meeting on Monday, July 8.

SD GFP Commission Re-proposes Bobcat Season

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Commission re-proposed the 2013 Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Season at its June Meeting.

The Commission adopted a proposal to change the West River season from the second Saturday of December to February 15, to Dec. 26 - March 1 and to include an overall harvest limit of 600.  If the overall harvest limit is reached prior to March 1, the season will close at that time. The East River season dates would change from the second Saturday of December to December 26 and run through the third Sunday of January.

The Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Season will be finalized at the July 8-9 GFP Commission meeting, which will be held in Pierre at the Ramkota RiverCentre. To view the full proposals on those seasons, visit: www.gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/default.aspx and look under the "Rule Proposals" heading.

To comment on any of the proposals, send a letter to: South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501; or email wild.info@state.sd.us . Comments on proposal will be taken until 5 p.m. CDT on June 5. To be included in the public record, please include your full name and city of residence.

To comment in person on the proposed rule, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. CDT as part of their meeting on Monday, July 8.

SD GFP Commission Finalizes August Management Take For Goose and the Fall Turkey Hunting Season

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Commission finalized changes to the August Management Goose Season at their June meeting.

The resident only season will run from Aug. 3-31.  Hunters will have a daily limit of 15, and no possession limit.  Hunters must use a plugged shotgun and shooting hours will be from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Fall South Dakota turkey hunters will find fewer tags available for 2013.  There will be 500 fewer Black hills resident tags and 40 fewer Black Hills non-resident tags.

The 2013 Fall Turkey Season will run from Oct. 1 - Jan. 31.

GFP Emphasizing Boating Safety

PIERRE, S.D. - With the approach of the Fourth of July Holiday, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is joining a national effort to highlight boating safety.

Operation Dry Water will take place June 28-30, and is a national weekend promoting boating safety and responsible use of alcohol while boating.

Approximately 17 percent of all boating fatalities nationwide are alcohol-related. As part of the national event, GFP will be conducting extra boating safety patrols across the state to promote safe and responsible boating practices heading into the Fourth of July holiday.

"Our conservation officers conduct these safety patrols throughout the year," Brandon Gust, GFP boating safety coordinator, said. "As we move into the peak boating season, we feel we can use our presence to share the message that safety is an essential element of any boating experience."

Having a safe and sober operator is always a critical part of boating but Gust added there are other items to account for as well.

"Before heading onto the water, check your equipment," he said. "Fire extinguishers, life jackets, throwable seat cushions and other equipment must be in good working condition. The best way to prevent an unwanted tragedy on the water is to be prepared."

The majority of boats in South Dakota are required to carry:

One U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable, properly sized personable flotation device for each person aboardOne U.S. Coast Guard-approved throwable type flotation device (seat cushion or ring buoy) for vessels 16 feet or longer One U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher of B-1 type or larger for vessels with enclosed gas compartments

Gust noted that state regulations require all children under age seven to wear an approved personal flotation device anytime a boat is moving at greater than no-wake speed. He recommends taking the next step and keeping a personal flotation device on all occupants in the boat at all times.

If boaters are uncertain what safety equipment they are required to have onboard, Gust suggests that they pick up a copy of the South Dakota Boating Handbook at the nearest GFP Office, state park, GFP-license outlet or by going online at http://gfp.sd.gov/fishing-boating/boating/

"Boating is all about having fun. Our boating safety patrols have a secondary role of law enforcement," Gust said. "Our primary goal is to share the message with the boating public that safety is the most important factor to a fun outing. We want everyone to have an enjoyable boating season."