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Lower Oahe waterfowl hunting access

Objective 1: To provide the public with added quality waterfowl hunting opportunities.

Objective 2: To improve the relationships between landowners and hunters.

Objective 3: To improve hunter ethics and hunting quality.

General Concept:

The 1998 South Dakota Legislature considered several bills concerning waterfowl hunting access and non-resident waterfowl hunting license allocations. Subsequently, the legislature passed a waterfowl-hunting bill, which include targeted funding for a hunting access program for waterfowl along the Missouri River near Pierre. Following the direction of the legislature, GF&P developed an access program designed to provide quality waterfowl-especially goose-hunting opportunities for South Dakotans and their guests on privately owned land.

By providing financial and other meaningful incentives to landowners, the department has had great success in opening private land for public hunting. These hunting opportunities expand the opportunities available to hunters as to where and when to hunt. Hunters often experience crowding in key hunting areas during the early part of some seasons or find themselves with little other choice than to pay a fee to hunt. Opening thousands of acres of privately owned land for waterfowl hunting will greatly reduce crowding.

In addition to added and improved hunting opportunities, this practice creates shared relationship between hunters and landowners. Hunters gain the privilege of hunting on a landowner's land, but must maintain good behavior in order to keep the privilege.

The purpose of this project is to provide additional hunting opportunities to the public by providing them access to private land. All access contracts require free access to the public without prior permission from the landowner. These areas will be walk-in, foot traffic only. Areas will be properly marked and may be fenced. Some areas will be open on a first come first serve basis, others will be open through a registration process. Some areas will have designated pits that must be used and others will be open to allow the hunter to select a site. The department will provide signs, directions and other necessary materials to the cooperator and the public.

The landowner and a department representative must sign a negotiable hunting access contract. The locations of access sites will be published on a map in a guide, which will be available for distribution among the public free of charge. Payment is negotiable and is in addition to any other habitat payment the landowner may be involved in. Payments are made in January following the hunting seasons. Multi-year contracts are encouraged although one-year contracts are available. The landowner will have limited liability immunity as stated by South Dakota law (SDCL 20-9-15) for all free access contracts.

FY 2009 Budget: $190,000

Minimum contract size: Negotiable.

Application Deadline: Contracts must be in the Pierre Office by June 11.

Signs: All areas must be posted with signs by September 30.

Goal: 6,000 user-days.

Requirements: Hunting access contracts require free access to the public without prior permission from the landowner.

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