Agency

Results & Action: Producers will see changes in GFP Wildlife Damage Management and Animal Damage Control Programs

December 12, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2019
CONTACT: Kevin Robling at 605-773-2705 or kevin.robling@state.sd.us

Results & Action: Producers will see changes in GFP Wildlife Damage Management and Animal Damage Control Programs

External Review of South Dakota’s Wildlife Damage Management and Animal Damage Control Programs Complete
PIERRE S.D. – In the spring of 2019, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced that the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) would conduct an external review of South Dakota’s Wildlife Damage Management and Animal Damage Control programs. The external review is now complete, and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is working to act on the review findings.
“Game, Fish and Parks welcomed this review,” said Kelly Hepler, GFP Secretary. “Landowners and producers in our state are important partners in wildlife management, and we want to ensure the programs and services we provide for minimizing wildlife damage are operating at the highest level. We look forward to working with Governor Noem and the Legislature to carry out the key action items.”
Producers will now see an increase in flight hours dedicated to aerial predator control. GFP will add 300 flight hours, statewide, with two additional pilots. These enhancements will be in addition to the current levels of 1,000 – 1,200 hours of aerial predator control that are flown annually.
The agency will also make a request to the Legislature to provide two additional full-time employees dedicated to wildlife damage management. The increase in full-time employees will allow district sizes in western South Dakota to be reduced, which means more efficient response times to producers’ requests for assistance.
In addition to these changes, GFP will begin using enhanced equipment such as thermal imaging technology for predator control activities. Moving ahead, GFP will have a clear focus on resolving ongoing coyote depredation events throughout the year particularly from February through June, which is the primary calving and lambing season. These are important steps in assisting South Dakota livestock producers.
“Engagement and public input from key stakeholders have helped shape the next direction in providing quality services and programs for wildlife damage management in South Dakota,” said Governor Noem. “Now we’re taking action to continue building relationships and partnerships with landowners and producers while resolving ongoing depredation, especially when it comes to coyotes.” 
Combined with these immediate steps, GFP will develop a strategic plan to carry out the recommendations made by WMI through the review process.
“Our agency is focused on customer satisfaction,” said Hepler. “As this plan is developed and executed, we will host regional forums with landowners, producers and other stakeholders to be sure they are being heard and they are receiving the services they need. We value their partnerships and look forward to making positive changes to our wildlife damage management programs.”
The WMI review process looked at the past 10 years of both the Wildlife Damage Management and Animal Damage Control programs offered by GFP, and surveyed South Dakota landowners and producers. The final report will be presented to the GFP Commission at their December meeting. The full report can be found on the GFP website.
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