GFP Commission Holds March Meeting

March 8, 2024

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission held their March Meeting at the Pierre Missouri Avenue Center March 7-8.

The Commission welcomed new commissioner Travis Theel, of Rapid City. Theel replaces Chuck Spring.

Wildlife Proposals

Custer State Park Coyote Hunting Season

The Commission proposed to extend the Custer State Park Coyote Hunting Season to start November 1 and continue through April 30.

The Commission also proposed to remove closure of season from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise and allow coyote hunting throughout the day and night.

Small Game Hunting Seasons

The Commission proposed to lengthen the quail, partridge, and grouse seasons to Jan 31, aligning these seasons closing date with the close of the pheasant season.

The Commission proposed to remove the word "common" in the snipe season hunting rules, allowing for the take of all species of snipe.

The Commission also asked the department to explore increasing options for rabbit and squirrel hunters and will have additional discussions regarding the rabbit and squirrel seasons at their April meeting.

The Commission took no action on several small game hunting seasons meaning the following seasons have no changes to the current season structure in administrative rule:

  • Pheasant;
  • Crow; and,
  • Mourning Dove.

August Management Take

The Commission made no changes to the proposal to remove Aurora, Beadle, Bon Homme, Brookings, Clay, Davison, Hanson, Hutchinson, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Sanborn, Turner, Union, and Yankton counties from the August Management Take Hunting season unit.

Nonresident Waterfowl

The Commission made no changes to the proposal to add additional licenses to the Nonresident Waterfowl hunting seasons. The additions include:

  • Adding 210 licenses to the 10-day statewide, NRW-00B area;
  • Adding 50 licenses to the 3-day NRW-00V area; and,
  • Adding 55 licenses to the 3-day NRW-00Z area.

These additions fall within the 5% yearly increases allowed in statute.

Bighorn Sheep Hunting Season

The Commission also reviewed recommendations to add one bighorn sheep license to the Custer State Park Unit, and four licenses to the Hell Canyon Unit for the 2024 and 2025 bighorn sheep hunting seasons.

The Commission amended the Bighorn Sheep hunting season to remove hunting unit BHS-BH1, which includes those portions beginning at Highway 385 and the Pennington County line, then south of Highway 385 to Sheridan Lake Road, then east on Sheridan Lake Road to Highway 79 in Rapid City, then north on Highway 79 to the Pennington County line. This proposal would then expand the unit boundary for BHS-BH4 to include the former boundaries of BHS-BH1 and those portions of Pennington County west of Interstate 90, Elk Vale Road. and Highway 79.

The recommendations would allow for the following license allocations:

  • Custer State Park: 4
  • BH2: 3
  • BH3: 0
  • BH4 8

This recommendation would also allow for one bighorn auction license, for a total of 16 licenses available for the 2024 and 2025 hunting seasons.

Custer State Park Bison Hunting Seasons

The Commission proposed to allow the use of archery equipment during the Custer State Park trophy and non-trophy bison harvest season.

The Commission also proposed to decrease the allowable hunting days for trophy bison from three to two. Hunters typically fill their tags within two days, and this change will allow increased opportunity for scheduling hunts.

The Commission also proposed to increase the number of trophy bison licenses available from eight license to 10 and non-trophy bison licenses from 15 to 20. This would result in a total of 11 trophy bison licenses, including the one license available through the Hunt for Habitat raffle.

Elk Hunting Seasons

The Commission reviewed recommendations for the following license allocations for the 2024 elk hunting seasons:

  • Custer State Park: 16 resident “Any Elk” licenses, including 1 raffle “Any Elk” license, and 0 “Antlerless Elk licenses;
  • Black Hills Archery: 192 resident “Any Elk” licenses and 90 resident “Antlerless Elk” licenses;
  • Black Hills Firearm: 570 resident "Any Elk" licenses and 730 "Antlerless Elk" licenses; and,
  • Prairie Elk: 126 resident "Any Elk" licenses and 210 "Antlerless Elk" licenses.

Tree Stands and Trail Cameras

The Commission proposed to expand requirements on trail camera placement, tree stand placement and construction on Walk-In-Areas and all private lands leased by the Department for public hunting access.

The proposal will allow a user to label these with either their name and address, name and phone number, or their GFP customer identification number. Individuals would need to obtain permission to use trail cameras on private land leased for hunting access by GFP.

Time Restrictions for Use of State Park Systems and Public Lands

The Commission proposed to clarify that Oahe Downstream Recreation Area and West Shore Lakeside Use Area, and other areas north of Fort Pierre, observe the Central Time zone. This clarifies that while these areas are technically located within the Mountain Time zone, they operate on the Central Time zone as that is what the communities in which they are associated with operate.

Public Comment Opportunity and Upcoming Meeting

To hear the discussion on any of the topics on the agenda, audio from the meeting is available through South Dakota Public Broadcasting and will soon be available on the GFP website as part of the meeting archive. 

To see these documents in their entirety, visit

To be included in the public record and to be considered by the Commission, public comments must include a full name and city of residence and be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT, March 31.

The next GFP Commission meeting will be held in Pierre at the Matthews Training Center, April 4-5.


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