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GFP News - November 14, 2013

2014 spring turkey season proposed

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has proposed several rule changes for the 2014 spring prairie turkey season.

Proposed rule changes for the prairie turkey season include:

Season dates for the firearms prairie turkey season will be April 12-May 18. The spring archery turkey season will run from April 5-May 18.

No changes were made to either the Black Hills spring turkey season or the Custer State Park spring turkey season. Both of these seasons will run from April 12-May 18.

These proposed rule changes will be finalized at the Dec. 5 GFP Commission meeting, which will be held in Huron at the Plains Motel. To view the full proposals on those seasons, visit: 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 Comments on proposals will be taken until 5 p.m. CST on Dec. 4. To be included in the public record, please include your full name and city of residence.

For those who would like to comment in person on these proposed rule changes, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. CST as part of their meeting.


gfp offers draft fisheries plans for review

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department has prepared a draft management plan for their fisheries program and now has the draft available on the GFP website for review.

The draft management plan includes sections for the Black Hills, West River, Missouri River, and East River Fisheries Management Areas and a plan encompassing programs common to the entire state. More detailed plans will be constructed for individual waters or water types within each management area.

"These plans were drafted to capture where we are and where we want to take the GFP fisheries program, what issues and challenges must be overcome and strategies to do so," John Lott, aquatics section chief, said. "We wanted to get something on paper for people to review. Public comment will help ensure that our goals and objectives reflect a shared vision for fisheries management in South Dakota. We hope that the public takes advantage of this opportunity to actively participate in the planning process."

One-page summaries for each section of the plan are also available on the website for review.

The comment period extends through Dec. 31, 2013, after which comments will be used to revise plans prior to formal presentation to the Game, Fish and Parks Commission.

Plans, summaries and information on submitting comments may be viewed at


Mountain lion license application process opens

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department has opened the 2014 mountain lion hunting online application process.

Mountain lion hunting within the Black Hills Fire Protection District runs from Dec. 26, 2013 through March 31, 2014 unless a harvest limit of 75 total mountain lions or 50 female mountain lions is met. Mountain lion hunting season is year-round outside the Black Hills Fire Protection District.

There is no deadline to purchase a mountain lion hunting license. However, there is a deadline of Dec. 11 to enter the drawing for one of the limited free access permits to hunt mountain lions within Custer State Park. Access permits are only available through online application.

These access permits are for specified blocks of days during the Black Hills season. They allow four hunting intervals of 17 days in length with each having 30 access permits where hunting with dogs is not allowed, and four hunting intervals of seven days in length with each having four access permits where hunting with dogs is allowed.

Information on the mountain lion hunting season and the online application process can be found on the GFP website at

Paper applications may be printed from the website and will be distributed by early December.


remaining defendant in poaching group pleads guilty

PIERRE, S.D. - The last defendant of a group of six individuals from Yale, S.D., who had been charged with poaching deer, was sentenced in state court in Dewey County on Oct. 25.

John P. Tschetter, 32, pled guilty to eight criminal offenses stemming from a two-year investigation conducted by the Game, Fish and Parks Department. The offenses included two counts of conspiracy to unlawfully possess big game and six counts of unlawful possession of big game.

"Our officers received numerous complaints from local citizens over the years concerning illegal hunting activities occurring in Dewey County," Andy Alban, GFP law enforcement program administrator, said. "It's important for us to follow up on these types of complaints, and in this situation the concerns were valid."

Wildlife officers acted on tips from concerned citizens and began documenting trips the group took to the Timber Lake area in western South Dakota. Officers documented violations during the 2011 and 2012 West River Deer seasons. According to officials, Tschetter and his associates violated numerous game laws including big game tag transfers, chasing big game with motor vehicles, shooting at big game from motor vehicles, hunting without licenses, failing to tag big game animals, improper use of radios to hunt big game, taking over limits of game and wanton waste of game.

Circuit Judge Jerome Eckrich sentenced Tschetter to pay $4,000 in fines/costs, $15,000 in civil damages and $4,500 in restitution for the cost of investigation. Tschetter received 240 days of jail for all of the counts, with all but 28 days suspended. The judge ordered him to serve four days at the opening of each of the next four West River Deer seasons as part of those 28 days.

Additionally, Tschetter was ordered to complete a hunter safety class and his hunting privileges were revoked for six years. He was also placed on unsupervised probation for four years and forfeited two hunting rifles.
Prior to Tschetter's court appearance, five other defendants had previously plead guilty in Dewey County.


unsold deer licenses eliminated in sanborn county

PIERRE, S.D. - The recent crop harvest activity brought reports of dead deer in Sanborn County in southeastern South Dakota. As a result, the Game, Fish and Parks Department eliminated all remaining unsold deer hunting permits.

All "any deer" licenses for Sanborn County sold out in the original drawing, but 132 antlerless permits still remained. These remaining licenses have now been eliminated.

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) was suspected as the cause of the deaths, although the deer had been dead too long to be confirmed through laboratory testing. EHD was responsible for a larger-scale deer die-off a year ago, primarily in southeastern and south central counties. GFP will continue to monitor any deer die-offs through observations by field staff and reports from the public.


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