Commission meeting archives


may 2013 Commission Meeting

May 2-3, 2013
Custer State Park



Division of Administration Audio

Action Items
Approve minutes of the March meeting
Additional Commissioner Salary Days

  • South Dakota Fur Trappers Association for 2012 list of resident trapping license holders; list will be used to contact potential new members and inform of upcoming activities; seeking reduced fee status; approved
  • South Dakota Wildlife Federation for list of 2012 nonresident small game license holders; survey nonresident pheasant hunters on amount of fee they pay for access, public land use, leased land use, preserve hunting, etc.; seeking reduced fee status; approved
  • Aberdeen Visitor Bureau for list of 2012 Nonresident Small Game license holders in several area states; provide information on staying in Aberdeen; seeking exception to regular fee; approved

Wildlife and Snowmobile Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

  • Commission was provided information on several budget lines for FY2014 showing the budget that was originally requested and the post-legislature budget adjustments that are the appropriations for the next fiscal year; includes a $1.1 million increase for salary and benefits
  • Commission asked to adopt final Snowmobile FY2014 Request total $1,496,390
  • Approved during legislative session $15,478 in additional expenditures along with 9.1 Full-Time Employees for total $362,281
  • FY2014 Appropriated total $1,511,868
  • Requested amend Division of Wildlife to account for billings for employee health insurance of $384,871; $111,042 for payment to BIT and other agencies; and total $495,913
  • These cost increases will require consideration as begin to look at FY2015 budget in July
  • FY2014 has projected increases for health and benefits and for other contractual services from other government agencies
  • Commission adopted budget changes

Information items
License Sales Report

  • After upsurge in fishing license sales in 2012, sales have been slow in 2013 which may be due in a large part to the cold and snow experienced through March and April

  • Resident sales running nearly 60% behind through this time last year

  • Nonresident annual license sales 33% behind last year

  • Total license sales 31% behind same time period in 2012

Open Forum Audio

  • Kevin Forester representing Black Hills Trails brought information to the Commission on different kinds of multiple use trails that can be put in place; BH Trails stationed primarily in northern Hills and works with local groups and individuals to encourage and develop trails

  • Nancy Hilding representing Prairie Hills Audubon Society requesting Commission consider management of wolf with more consideration than predator/varmint status and have policy that when a wolf is taken the carcass must be turned over to GFP, similar to a law in place in Wyoming to aid in efforts to monitor population and genetics of those wolves

  • Hilding spoke in favor of having a 24-hour trap check rule and require trap identification saying we are one of only 9 states that do not require trap ID's; she encourages some form of compromise and tighten restrictions

  • Larry Weirkamp has hunted western South Dakota for many years with may different types of weapons; each hunter chooses a weapon/method that they prefer, some are basic and some more elaborate; as long as legal and keeping young hunters and women hunters active it is very important; hunts with a crossbow for medical reasons; crossbow has a 3 power scope that can pick up light and make target easier to pick out, 3-dot site compromises shooting in early morning or evening light for some hunters with poorer eyesight; would like to keep archery hunting and asks that Commission allow a 3X scope for crossbows, won't change the number of animals called each year and is not an unfair proposal

  • Matt Rippentrop thanked the Commission for allowing the auction of a bighorn sheep tag and the $102,000 it brought in; also thanked those groups that were a part of the process; there was a great deal of interest in the South Dakota tag and a lot of money was raised for bighorn around the country and high SD sale helped drive up auction bids for North Dakota and Wyoming; Committee has been formed to help develop recommendations for using the auction money; there are now some discussion about partnerships with Oglala and Rosebud reservations for sheep herds

  • Russ Roberts of St. Onge visited with the Commission about season dates for West River Deer and wants the dates to open the second Saturday in November; feels it will affect his business and his deer hunt by having the later date this year; also asked the Commission if they had any thoughts on his ideas for West River Special Buck and staff is working on some aspects of his ideas

Public Hearing at 2 PM

Finalizations Audio
Off-season camping rates

  • No recommended changes from proposal
  • Rule modification will require a camper to pay a daily fee for the use of a campsite, camping cabin or lodge in a state park, recreation area and lakeside use area
  • Up to this point, fees are reduced by $2 during the winter when cold weather requires closure of some facilities like restroom and shower. Costs are incurred throughout the winter for park use and eliminating the winter fee reduction will help cover some of these costs while impacting only the limited number of winter campers; around 665 total campers last winter
  • There were no written or oral comments from the public
  • Commission approved rule change as proposed
Rule Proposals
Custer State Park Deer Hunting Seasons Audio
  • Recommended changes from 2012: Reduce number of "Any Deer" licenses from 2 to zero; Increase number of "Antlerless Whitetail Deer" muzzleloader licenses from zero to 20; total of 10 "any whitetail" and 20 "antlerless whitetail" licenses would be available
  • Staff recommends providing licenses for antlerless white-tail deer once again. This decision is based on improved fawn recruitment as surveys indicate the white-tail fawn:doe ratio was 0.93 in 2012 which increased from 0.53 in 2011. Unfortunately, mule deer observations were rare during surveys last year and observations of fewer mature mule deer bucks initiated a recommendation of not providing 2 "any deer" licenses this year.
  • Season dates Nov. 2-15
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended
East River Deer Hunting Season
  • Recommended changes from 2012: Offer 1,000 less one-tag licenses, 1,500 less two-tag licenses, and 1,300 less three-tag licenses (overall decrease of 7,900 tags) than 2012; total available for 2013 18,745 one-tag, 11,770 two-tag, and 2,800 three-tag licenses (total of 50,685 tags)
  • Season dates Nov. 23-Dec. 8; and Dec. 28-Jan. 5 for antlerless tags only
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended

West River Deer Hunting Season

  • Recommended changes from 2012: Adjust resident license numbers by increasing one-tag licenses by 240, decreasing two-tag licenses by 1,260 (2,520 tags), and increasing three-tag licenses by 305 (915 tags) compared to 2012; Adjust nonresident license numbers by increasing one-tag licenses by 20, decreasing two-tag licenses by 102 (204 tags), and increasing three-tag licenses by 24 (72 tags) compared to 2012
  • Season Dates: Nov. 16-Dec. 1, except Units 30A & 50A Nov. 2-5 and 18-24 and Units 20A, 24A and 64A Nov. 2-24; Antlerless Tag licenses valid Dec. 28-Jan. 5
  • Commission discussed the start date for WR Deer as a social and biological issue; deer season will occur more over the rut than if it were the second Saturday and may make mature bucks more susceptible to harvest, but as part of big picture managing deer by unit the harvest of some additional trophy animals will not impact herd growth
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended

Black HIlls Deer Hunting Season

  • Recommended changes from 2012: Offer residents 50 and nonresidents 4 fewer "Antlerless Whitetail" deer licenses than 2012 for a total of 200 resident and 16 nonresident "Any" deer licenses, 3,000 resident and 240 nonresident "Any Whitetail" deer licenses, and 100 resident and 8 nonresident "Antlerless Whitetail" deer licenses available
  • Season dates Nov. 1-30
  • Commission proposed rule change as recommended

Refuge Deer Hunting Season

  • Recommended changes from 2012: Adjust the start date for Unit RFD-SL1 from the Saturday before East River deer hunting season to the second Saturday of November. Start dates for all other Sand Lake units would adjust accordingly; Only unfilled Sand Lake "Antlerless Deer" licenses are valid during the 9-day season starting on the first Saturday after Christmas; During any Refuge Deer seasons that are restricted to muzzleloaders, make an allowance for optics that do not employ magnification as defined in 41:06:04:14 Muzzleloading Restrictions.
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended

Archery Deer Hunting Season

  • Recommended changes from 2012: Only unfilled "antlerless deer" and "antlerless whitetail deer" licenses are valid from Jan. 1–Jan. 15; add Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Clay, Codington, Douglas, Grant, Hutchinson, Lincoln, Turner, Union and Yankton counties to the area where antlerless deer licenses are not valid; change the name of "Blood Run Nature Area" to "Good Earth State Park"; reduce number of "Any Antlerless Deer" archery access permits for Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve from 45 to zero and Good Earth State Park from 5 to zero; increase the number of "Any Deer" archery access permits from 5 to 10 for Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve
  • Season dates Sept. 28-Jan. 15
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended

Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Season

  • Recommended changes from 2012: Only unfilled "any antlerless deer" licenses are valid from January 1-15th; Add Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Clay, Codington, Douglas, Grant, Hutchinson, Lincoln, Turner, Union and Yankton counties to the area where antlerless deer licenses are not valid
  • Season dates Dec. 1-Jan. 15
  • 1,000 "Any Deer" licenses available along with unlimited single and double tag "any antlerless deer" licenses
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended
Youth Deer Hunting Season
  • Recommended changes from 2012: Add Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Clay, Douglas, Hutchinson and Union counties to those areas where only one license is valid; Remove the youth deer restriction for Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge, and Waubay National Wildlife Refuge thereby making an allowance for the USFWS Refuge System to allow access for youth deer hunting at their discretion
  • Season Dates: Sept. 14-Jan. 15
  • Hunters may purchase up to two (2) youth deer licenses.  Only one youth deer license is valid statewide.  The Youth Limited Unit license is not valid in the Black Hills Fire Protection District and the counties of Bon Homme, Brookings, Charles Mix, Clay, Codington, Deuel, Douglas, Grant, Hamlin, Hutchinson, Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, Moody, Roberts, Turner, Union, and Yankton
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended

Archery Antelope Hunting Season

  • Season finalized with no changes from 2012
  • Season Dates: Aug. 17-Oct. 31 except when and the prairie firearms season is open
  • Open Area: All areas where the prairie (firearm) antelope season is open and Brule, Buffalo, Hand, and Campbell counties; and the portions of Custer and Pennington counties within the Black Hills Fire Protection District with special access permits
  • Five (5) special access permits will be issued via lottery drawing to those licensees who possess a valid "any antelope" resident archery license for those portions of Custer and Pennington Counties within the Black Hills Fire Protection District, except Custer State Park

Fall Turkey Hunting Season

  • Recommended changes from 2012: Offer 20 fewer one-tag licenses and 10 more two-tag licenses for resident hunters on the East River Prairie Units; Reduce the number of resident Black Hills licenses by 500 and the number of nonresident licenses by 40; Repeal 41:06:14:04 - Licenses valid for unit specified. In those units adjoining the Cheyenne River or White River a license is valid in the adjacent unit within one mile of the common river boundary
  • Season dates Oct. 1-Jan. 31
  • Licenses Available: Black Hills = 1,500 resident and 120 nonresident; East River = 1,580 one-tag licenses and 700 two-tag licenses; and West River unlimited two-tag licenses
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended

Furbearers and Trapping Seasons

  • Recommended changes include shortening the West River season to open at sunrise on Dec. 26 and close at sunset on Feb. 15
  • Change the East River season to open at sunrise on Dec. 26 and close at sunset on third Saturday in January (Jan. 19, 2014)
  • The last three consecutive years of the west river bobcat season has experienced sex ratios that have been skewed towards a higher ratio of females being harvested.  Having more females than males harvested is an indicator of a moderate or heavy harvested population.
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended


  • No recommended changes so season finalized with same structure as 2012
  • Season Dates: Year-round West River except in Black Hills Fire Protection District; Nov. 2-Apr. 30 for all counties East of Missouri and portions of Black Hills Fire Protection District south of I-90 and west of SD 79 that are now owned by US Forest Service; Jan. 1-Mar. 31 for US Forest Service land in the Black Hills Fire Protection District south of Interstate 90 and west of SD Highway 79


  • No recommended changes so season finalized with same structure as 2013
  • 2014 season dates: Apr. 1-Aug. 31 statewide
  • Only landowners and lessees, including School and Public Lands surface lease holders, on land they own or operate and state, county, or township highway officials within public road right-of-ways are allowed to take muskrats during the season. Non-toxic shot is required for shotguns.


  • No recommended changes so seasons finalized with same structure as 2012
  • Season dates for Mink/Weasel: Nov. 2-Jan. 31
  • Season dates for Muskrat: Year-round for all of state west of the Missouri River, except that portion of the Black Hills Fire Protection District south of Interstate 90 and west SD Highway 79; Nov. 2-Apr. 30 for all of state east of the Missouri River and portions of the Black Hills Fire Protection District south of Interstate 90 and west of SD Highway 79; trapping on or in muskrat houses is prohibited from Mar. 16 to the end of the season (Apr. 30)
  • No recommended changes so seasons finalized with same structure as 2012
  • All are open year-round and statewide

August Management Take

  • Recommended changes from 2012: Modify season dates to be first Saturday of August through August 31; Increase the daily bag limit from 8 to 15; Add those portions west of the Cheyenne River in Pennington County to the open area; Allow unplugged shotguns; Modify the shooting hours to end 1/2 hour after sunset
  • Large numbers of resident Canada geese are causing significant crop depredation in eastern South Dakota. Landowner tolerance to goose depredation has decreased over the years due to economic issues such as higher commodity prices and increased crop production costs. Although most of our depredation problems with resident Canada geese are agricultural in nature, we are also experiencing urban goose problems, in particular, Rapid City and Sioux Falls.
  • Season Dates: Aug. 3-31
  • Open Area: Brookings, Brown, Clark, Codington, Day, Deuel, Hamlin, Hanson, Grant, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Marshall, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Roberts, Spink and Union counties
  • Residents Only
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended

Archery Accompaniment Audio

  • Recommended changes from 2012: Amend to limit scope of the rule to the possession of firearms by an archery hunting; create a new rule to address non-licensee accompaniment and to place the responsibility for adherence on the unlicensed hunter
  • Currently a person hunting under an archery only license cannot be accompanied in the field by another person carrying a firearm or bow and arrow unless that individual has an archery big game license valid for the same geographic area and time of years and the licensee. An exception exists for those with a concealed pistol permit carrying a pistol. The licensed archery big game hunter is held as the responsible party if other armed individuals accompany him or her and do not have the same type of license. The proposed amendment would place the responsibility for adherence to the rule on the armed unlicensed individual who accompanies the archery big game hunter
  • Commission proposed rule changes as recommended

Division of Parks and Recreation

Action Items Audio
Proposal - Golf cart use on park roads

  • Add section to rule to allow golf carts having properly functioning headlights, brake lights, and rearview mirror, and which are properly insured; and combustion engine powered mopeds and scooters having a maximum engine displacement of 50cc, a properly functioning headlight, brake light, horn, and rear view mirror, and which is properly insured
  • Operator must be a licensed driver
  • A golf cart that does not display a valid license plate may operate on designated roads and parking lots within state parks and recreation areas with the following exceptions: Custer State Park except within designated campgrounds, and roads with posted speed limits of more than 35 mph
  • Must have park entrance sticker attached or transferable sticker available at all times
  • Rule changes are being made to accommodate 2013 legislation passed in form of HB1220
  • Eliminate moped and scooter exemptions and have them require a park sticker as well.
  • Change proposal to reflect "Proof of insurance required" for motorized vehicles in parks suggested by Commissioner Jensen
  • Proposal approved with amended changes.
Information Items

Custer State Park Resort Master Plan Audio

  • These plans have helped the resorts at CSP keep pace with development and improvements
  • 2007 included a $12 million bond issuance to take care of infrastructure work and included the development of the Creekside Resort
  • About a year ago the Resort Company approached GFP on charting future development and work; staff and resort company collaborated working off each other's strengths to meet needs of Park and expectation of travelers
  • Shared document with Commission that highlights plans being put in place; no timeline has been set but will be done over the course of several years
  • Funding sources include issuance of a bond - as revenues from franchise fees come in they can be used as old bonds are paid off; R&M Fund that is part of lease contract with resort company, 5% of gross receipts from operation go to repair and maintenance upgrades; use private capital from resort company with opportunity for the company to amortize their investment
  • Some of the major update work will include: electrical line burying at State Game Lodge; two wells service Game Lodge and if lose even 1 this will shut down resort so need to add; several sites reserved for campground volunteers and will expand those
  • Legion lake replace water lines that are now old cast iron lines; bury electrical lines; improve water wells and deal with high iron content; cabin landscaping improvements;
  • Sylvan Lake bury electrical lines at wedding site so have power at that site; water quality improvements; provide water/sewer/electricity for new cabins
  • Blue Bell bury electrical lines
  • Total costs for these would be at least $1.4 million
  • Goal of Custer State Park Resort Company (US Hotels) is to rival any national park in the country and projects they feel are important will take their services and offerings to the next level
  • State Game Lodge: clean up old cabins and replace some with new (net gain of around 11 cabins); guest room wings off main lodge would get improved look; second and third floor renovations to the main lodge with what is basically just storage area now; addition of another reunion cabin; add new dorms for staff, a critical component to getting and retaining staff
  • Legion Lake: would like to flip the building so dining area face Legion Lake and retail on the other end, footprint of the lodge would change very little, this would be a more costly long-term plan; there are aspects of the lodge in need of upgrades; lakeside cabins that aren't on the lakefront but afford a lake view are possible; add more dorm housing for staff
  • Sylvan Lake: new historic lodge recreated along the lake would make for a phenomenal guest experience; add a reunion cabin; existing cabins on the lakeside are crammed into a little area, would consider removing 8 cabins to open area and relocate the removed cabins; employee housing; tear down boathouse and clean up that area; add some outdoor eating patio areas at general store
  • Blue Bell: there has been a great deal of work done since 2007; would like to clean up some of area
  • Cost will be considerable at $11-14 million for resort work

Custer State Park Visitor Center

  • Existing is Peter Norbeck Center, and can't modify it logistically or legally and doesn’t function as a visitor center should in an iconic park.
  • New visitor center ideally would have theater to highlight areas and facets of park for visitors
    - Goal to have visitors stay longer in the park and leave the center with knowledge of what they can do in the park
    - Hold at least 120+ so busloads could stop and visit
  • Two options for location of the new center were discussed as presented by consulting group
  • Both options would work well, but need to look at all factors to make the best decision
    - Possibly use a counter to determine which direction would have the most traffic so park visitors would see the Visitor Center first before the other amenities (like Game Lodge) of the park.
  • Budget for new Visitor Center set at $3 million and legislature appropriated $1.5million
    - Department committed $500,000 from capital development budget
    - Parks and Wildlife Foundation took on $1million fundraising goal
  • Important that it's easy to find for visitors, but not affect view of Game Lodge or natural scenery of the park
  • Starting to solicit engineering companies for the proposal and top four companies will be notified and interviewed
  • Construction date dependent upon success from Parks and Wildlife foundation fundraising efforts
  • Plan is to keep current Norbeck Visitor Center as it is listed on register of historic places and will provide interpretive programming out of it

Cedar Shore Resort Sale

  • Commission approved new lease agreement with US Hotels but hinges on work being done to shore stability; lease is in place and is in effect; funding sources for stabilization issues are in place with $4,250,000 available; engineering plan came up with scope of work and cost estimate at around $5.1 million which includes a 35% contingency; now must see what bids will actually be; hiring engineering firm to do final design and plans and striving to have this project to bid by next winter
  • US Hotels plans for resort are moving forward with look at the good things in place and things that need replaced; also have purchased Al's Oasis; lodge needs work such as bathroom updates, lobby floor, public restrooms, building exterior needs work and staining, door casings, decks, patio area needs work, landscaping including concrete work and sidewalks; summer looks very lots of bookings; ordered 8 camping cabins; dock repair at marina
  • In future will put showers and restrooms above the marina; may add 7-8 cabins near marina but have alternatives if that doesn't work; would like to bring in RV pads and asphalt work at campground; envision north area will hold more cabins and maybe add a north campground; ideas for a splash park

Good Earth State Park land acquisition Audio

  • Buzz Nelson property acquired in 2011 as part of Good Earth State Park.
  • 250 acres that the conservation fund currently owns and Department agreed to purchase; Conservation fund has fulfilled their obligation and begun to pay down the loan for the property.
  • Parks Division is hopeful to receive Funding from a Forest Service Legacy Program grant to acquire unique and threatened forest to give to public. In 2012, Good Earth ranked 10th and in 2013 ranked 9th and Department is looking to get awarded grant in summer 2013. Working with Conservation fund in anticipation the grant will come through.
  • Public notices have been advertised in local papers of the Department's intent to bring a resolution to accept land deed to all 250 acres.
    - Deed acquisition will take place in 2 steps.
    - Currently in the 30 day public notice process and plan to propose, at next commission meeting open forum, to adopt first 30 ac
    - Then later in the year accept the rest of the remaining 220ac.

Mountain Pine Beetle Update Audio

  • In 2012, 35,000 trees treated for beetle; methods have proven effective in park. Down from 100,000 trees treated in 2011.
    - Of trees treated- 1/2 removed and 1/2 cut and chunked
    Sylvan lake area and NW area of the park were focal areas for treatment
    - 75% reduction in beetle diseased trees which takes down the disease status to endemic in CSP
    - CSP Staff continue to seek out trees and treat for disease
    - 6,000 ac on contract for green timber sales in CSP; Forest service sold some timber along CSP Western Boundary which could help create buffer for beetle pressure from the Forest Service side
    - In 2012, 400 high value trees sprayed around structures and lodges
    - AmeriCorp crews assisted with beetle projects and will continue to work to clean up beetle work done
  • Forest Service grant applied for to do fuels work and for prescribed burns and thin areas for fuel loads and pile brush to burn over winter
  • Things are improving and need good weather when beetles emerge to keep ahead of the problem

Park Revenue and Visitation Reports

  • No written report for this month; visitation and camping use report look year to date down considerably- likely due to late Spring
  • Reservations are up from last year and have taken in 5% increase in revenue from last year.
  • Park entrance license sales are about even with last year
Division of Wildlife

Action Items
Sturgis remnant highway lot property disposal

  • Commission was presented with a resolution that would authorize GFP to a small piece of property by Sturgis that was acquired in 1954 as part of the Marcotte Game Production Area. This land was conveyed to the Highway Department in 1964, later abandoned and returned to GFP in 2012. The property is isolated in an industrial area and is of no value as wildlife production land
  • Property appraised at $40,000 for 1.1 acre
  • The resolution allows GFP to proceed with sale and transfer of title to the property.

Information Items
Status of deer populations

  • First year for bringing all deer season recommendations to Commission at the same time
  • Market hunting and unregulated harvest took a toll on deer population with early settlers and by early 1900s most deer were gone from eastern SD; public took notice and more stringent regulations were put in place
  • By 1947 deer population had recovered to point where receiving complaints of crop depredation; deer season east river in 1952 and west river in 1952
  • Now there are a lot more deer and a lot more deer hunting opportunity in state; in 2012 estimated 9,600 whitetail and 1,600 mule deer
  • Deer recruitment trends have been trending down both East and West River, although East river this past year did recover a bit; Black Hills has held fairly steady; difference between mule deer and whitetail is growing as mule deer population decreases
  • Harvested around 71,500 deer in 2012 compared to 85,160 in 2011; provide over 570,000 recreation days hunting
  • Last year over 75,000 deer hunters
  • Have decreased deer harvest the past two years as part of management objectives
  • Decreasing the ratio of does taken compared to bucks
  • Success rate 44% WR and 48% ER; nearly half of comments received dealt with negative perception of fewer deer
  • Total harvest for Black Hills just over 3,500
  • Black Hills deer hunters surveyed on number of deer seen and satisfaction and both those numbers are up
  • Archery and muzzleloader harvest and license sales have leveled out
  • Youth Deer hunter success 51%, 3100 deer harvested and another 1500 for mentored season
  • Statewide seasons for firearm deer account for 29% of total harvest
  • Future projects include a landowner deer survey to help shape seasons and recommendations; aerial surveys on a few select counties to compare with population models; several research projects including road survey methodology, look at fall deer and antelope herd composition, a fawn study for both mule and whitetail deer, and a study of bucks around the Badlands National Park area to get a handle on buck movement, recruitment and mortality
  • Habitat loss will have an impact on deer populations, this will have an affect on deer management practices
  • Winter did not have a great impact in most areas but northeast will have a few areas with some negative impact
  • Coyote population is building in some areas and could have an impact
  • Last 2 years there have been some major losses due to EHD and those areas with some of the highest losses are areas where license numbers have been reduced
  • Unit objectives have been more formal to plan for increase, decrease or steady population in specific areas
  • In 2013 recommend 10% decrease east river, 3% west river and hold steady in the Black Hills

Elk research and status of Custer State Park elk herd Audio

  • 3rd year of study to evaluate elk movement, pregnancy rates and nutrition
    - Study focus is to examine poor elk calf recruitment in CSP
  • Core study area in elk unit 4 and shows some elk move in and out of CSP
  • In 2013, 42 elk were captured and tagged with transmitters uncertain of pregnancy success
  • Study has seen an average 90% pregnancy rate of the 3 years, however poor elk calf success
  • More elk calves survived in year 2 of study over year 1- hypothesis for CSP that with increase in mountain lion harvest elk calf success would go up
  • GPS collars are currently collecting way points for collard elk every 2 hours to track movements and collecting a lot of good data on elk movements
  • CSP has not lost an elk calf since Jan 1, 2013 and calf mortality has gone down significantly this year; survival rate 27% in 2011; literature suggests a 40% calf survival rate would be good to help the population grow.
  • Adult cow survival and pregnancy success is similar to other states with elk, but CSP calf success lower than other states
    - 80-90% cow survival
  • Wind Cave elk movement project started with pilot study in Dec 2012 on horseback to with goal to push elk into CSP from Wind Cave; 69 horseback riders were used and only 14 elk were moved.
    - Then adopted an air approach in two steps
    Used Quicksilver air to haze elk Mar 1 moved 197 elk from Wind Cave into CSP
    On Mar 8 192 elk moved with helicopter; 19 mature bulls and 3 immature- bull elk did not want to move
    - Total of 389 elk moved into CSP
    - 30-50 elk went into forest service land, but 26 radio collared elk went from Wind Cave in CSP

Game Production Area property taxes Audio

  • GFP pays property taxes on all Game Production Areas
  • In 2012 a total of $1,211,514.40 was paid on 255,998.52 acres of land, an average of $4.73/acre
  • In 2001 GFP paid less than $600,000 in property taxes
  • This does not include water access
  • Counties in SE have higher tax per acre levels and get less
  • In the last 12 years, taxes have gone up due to Title 6 property increases
  • Basis is made from soil types and agriculture production potential despite what type of cover is on the landscape

Rapid Creek stream habitat improvement project Rapid Creek stream habitat improvement project

  • 10 year ongoing project for tailwater fishery below Pactola; test case for future projects in the Black Hills
  • Pactola dam completed in 1956 for city water, irrigation, flood control and recreation
  • Great fishery for lake trout (new record), pike, pan fish, brown trout, rainbow, brook trout- cold water release with cool water for trout
  • Discussed how stream flow impacts the habitat; high flows have negatively impacted the fishery by destruction of habitat
  • Fishery has crashed due to lack of quality habitat; lack of plant growth; didymo; no overwintering holding cover; lack of pool habitat and decline of adequate flows
  • 2000-2007 the areas experienced a 70% decline in adult brown trout (>8in); generated concern for anglers and managers
  • Project Objectives: improve and provide habitat for large fish and juvenile fish and protect low flow areas to promote growth; add structure to be stable under high and low flow conditions; maintain fishability'
  • 10 project treatment areas for improvements;
    - 4 projects to evaluate success
    Survival and recruitment - mark/recapture using fish tags with treatment and control site; evaluate survival by size class; 500m survey sites; 2 sites for 3 years
    Abundance- BACI design study- before, after, control, impact; 3 control sites
    Invertebrate assessment; pre-habitat and post-habitat ; final sampling 2014
    Pactola stilling basin- evaluate population estimate; 3 years sampling
    - Black Hills Fly Fisherman are involved and pledged $50,000 to this project

Fish spawning update

  • Spawning collection has been delayed due to poor weather
  • Walleye: Goal 83 million eggs and raise 1.7 million small fingerlings
  • Perch: Goal 12 million eggs, 600,000 small fingerlings; 5,625 adults through trap and transfer
  • Pike: 4,000 adults trapped and transferred to supplement other fisheries
  • If South Dakota reaches goal, will assist Iowa  as Iowa assists South Dakota with Muskellunge

Fish hatchery operation update

  • Blue Dog: new heat system installed to better grow warm water fish species; heater was functional only 70 of the possible 100 days
    - Over winter, 8,000 largemouth bass were and increased 30% by weight; goal of 10,000 each winter with the heater and have them at 10in at stocking time
    - Over winter channel catfish were also raised; got catfish from Kansas and added 30% by weight; goal 10-15,000 fish by spring

National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP)

  • Jason Kool, GFP Program Specialist presented a PowerPoint about what NASP is, the history of NASP in South Dakota, the South Dakota NASP tournaments and benefits of the program. NASP started in SD in 2007 as a partnership between SD GFP and the South Dakota Department of Education (DOE). Currently South Dakota has 224 schools and over 20,000 participants. Jason showed a map of all the schools in the state and almost every county in South Dakota exhibits at least on school who participates in the program. SD GFP provides all the training and equipment for schools who want to participate in the program and funds the program 100% through state dollars and federal matching dollars. In 2013, the South Dakota NASP State Tournament increased to 660 registrants and lasted 1 1/2 days. 2013 was the second time the State Tournament had been held in Rapid City. Jason presented the benefits of the program for both SDGFP and SD DOE of archery and national research shows students gain interest in archery and like their schools, teachers and themselves better because of their participation in the program.

Special buck licenses

  • Using company on contract in Pierre to call landowners and verify with landowner to find out about hunters who list on special buck application location as well as permission to hunt on private land for special buck. For all applicants, randomly sorted

GFP External Big Game Management Evaluation Update

  • WMI has set dates for public hearing for Big Game Management External Evaluation. Release will be coming early next week.


Next Meeting
June 6-7, 2013
Capitol Lake Visitor's Center - Pierre, SD