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GFP News - August 7, 2015




GFP Commission Finalizes South Dakota Duck and Goose Hunting Seasons

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission finalized the 2015 duck and goose hunting seasons at their August meeting.

2015 Duck Hunting Season Information:

A daily bag limit of six ducks may be comprised of no more than five mallards (which may include no more than two hens), three wood ducks, three scaup, two redheads, two pintails and two canvasbacks. The possession limit for South Dakota duck hunters is three times the daily bag limit.

2015 Goose Hunting Season Information:

Possession limits are unlimited for light geese and three times the daily limit for all other geese.

Hunters are reminded that parts of Minnehaha and Lincoln counties are closed during the early fall September Canada goose season. This change allows for hunting Canada geese in the Sioux Falls area to occur later in the season.

GFP Commission Removes the Bald Eagle from the State Threatened Species List

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission removed the bald eagle from the state’s threatened species list at their August meeting.

Because this species has exceeded the state management goal, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) recommended that protection under the state endangered species law is no longer justified. This species will continue to be protected by the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Bald eagles were down-listed from state endangered to state threatened in 2003. In 2005, as part of an interagency effort to plan for the needs of endangered or threatened species that depend on the Missouri River, GFP completed the “South Dakota Bald Eagle Management Plan.” The management goal for nesting bald eagles in South Dakota is an average of 25 active bald eagle nests per year, with a five-year running average.

Based on nest monitoring and aerial surveys in 2015, the current estimated number of active nests is 140-150. This depicts a conservative estimate because not all nest locations are known to the agency, and some nests in remote locations cannot be monitored.

GFP Commission Proposes Expansion of the East River Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Season

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission proposed to expand the bobcat hunting season on the east side of the river to a total of 10 counties for 2015.

The proposed season would run from Dec. 26, 2015 – Feb. 15, 2016, for all counties west of the Missouri River and from Dec. 26, 2015 - Jan. 17, 2016, for Hughes, Hyde, Buffalo, Brule, Charles Mix, Bon Homme, Hutchinson, Yankton, Clay and Union counties in eastern South Dakota.

Trappers or hunters who participate in the East River season are limited to one bobcat.

The Commission will finalize this proposal at their Oct. 1-2, 2015, meeting at the Spearfish Holiday Inn Convention Center. Written comments can be sent to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be part of the official public record, comments must be received by 12 p.m. MDT on Oct. 1. Please include your full name along with the city and state of residence. If you would like to comment in person, the public hearing will be held Oct.1 at 2 p.m. MDT.

GFP Commission Proposes Mountain Lion Hunting Season for 2016-2017

PIERRE, S.D. -- The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission proposed to allow up to 250 nonresidents to hunt mountain lions. Nonresident licensees would not be eligible to apply for Custer State Park access permits. The cost of a nonresident mountain lion license would be $121.

The Commission also proposed to modify the harvest limit within the Black Hills Fire Protection District from 75 mountain lions or 50 female lions to 60 and 40, respectively.

For lion hunting in Custer State Park, the Commission proposed to decrease the number of hunting intervals which do not allow the use of dogs from four to three and decrease the number of access permits per interval from 30 to 15. The number of intervals allowing the use of dogs would remain at four, but the number of access permits for each interval would decrease from four to three. Hunting intervals will rotate after every 14 days, beginning with an interval allowing the use of dogs.

Mountain lion hunting within the Black Hills Fire Protection District would run from Dec. 26, 2015 - March 31, 2016, or until either the harvest limit of 60 or the female sub-harvest limit of 40 is reached.

The Commission will finalize this proposal at their Oct. 1-2, 2015, meeting at the Spearfish Holiday Inn Convention Center. Written comments can be sent to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be part of the official public record, comments must be received by 12 p.m. on Oct. 1 MDT. Please include your full name along with the city and state of residence. If you would like to comment in person, the public hearing will be held Oct.1, at 2 p.m. MDT.

GFP Commission Proposes Fish Length Limit Changes on Several South Dakota Waters

PIERRE, S.D. - Proposals by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission could bring changes to several daily and length limits for the upcoming 2016 fishing season.

Commission proposals, with supporting information include:

1. Change white bass limits on Nebraska border waters to match those of Nebraska (15 daily/30 possession).

2. Remove the restriction allowing only largemouth and smallmouth bass less than 14 inches in length or 18 inches or greater in length to be harvested from Lake Cochrane in Deuel County and Waubay Lake in Day County.  The harvest of bass in Lake Cochrane is very low. Additionally, management objectives for bluegill require a high density of smaller bass in the system. This regulation change would better facilitate current management objectives.
Waubay Lake has a history of prey abundance fluctuations. This regulation change would follow suit with the previous removal of the walleye 15 inch minimum length limit from Waubay Lake.

3. Remove the 15 inch minimum length restriction exemption in July and August for walleye from Ft. Randall Dam down to the South Dakota-Nebraska state line on the Missouri River.  Current walleye regulations in the area from Ft. Randall Dam down to the SD/NE state line on the Missouri River mirror regulations above the dam on Lake Francis Case with a 15 inch minimum exemption during July and August. This regulation change would align the walleye regulations for the area from Ft. Randall Dam down to the SD/NE state line with the area from the SD/NE state line downstream to Gavins Point Dam. Regulations would be clearer with the same walleye 15 inch minimum length restriction from Ft. Randall Dam down to Gavins Point Dam.

4. Remove the 15 inch minimum length restriction for walleye from the Cattail/Kettle Lake Complex in Marshall County and Bitter Lake in Day County.  The Cattail/Kettle Complex walleye population has not shown improvement and actually has declined in quality with the 15 inch minimum length limit in effect. The Bitter Lake walleye population has a large number of fish that were produced in 2011 (4 years old); growing slowly and dying from natural causes before they reach 15 inches in length.

5. Remove the 15 inch minimum length restriction and remove the two fish daily limit restriction for walleye from Opitz Lake in Day and Marshall Counties.  The abundance of Opitz Lake walleye in the 13-15 inch range is high; however, abundance of 16-17 inch walleye continues to be low. It is believed that the lake is losing walleye to natural causes prior to attaining 15 inches in length.

6. Add a 15 inch minimum length restriction for largemouth and smallmouth bass in Bismarck Lake, Custer County.  Bismarck Lake was renovated and smallmouth bass were recently stocked. In an effort to build the newly created fishery, a minimum length limit will help protect these fish until a fishery develops.

7. Change the name of the "Black Hills Trout Management Area" to the "Black Hills Fish Management Area."  With changes in species present and angler desires, the Black Hills Trout Management Area currently requires management of many different fish species. Recent strategic planning efforts have been based on fish management areas. Changing the name will help standardize language.

The Commission also proposed to allow the inclusion of white bass in commercial fishing contracts to help benefit fisheries management objectives.

The Commission will finalize these proposals at their Oct. 1-2, 2015, meeting at the Spearfish Holiday Inn Convention Center. Written comments can be sent to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be part of the official public record, comments must be received by 12 p.m. on Oct. 1 MST. Please include your full name along with the city and state of residence. If you would like to comment in person, the public hearing will be held Oct.1, at 2 p.m. MST.

Changes Proposed for the Paddlefish Snagging and Archery Seasons

PIERRE, S.D. - A South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission proposal could offer expanded opportunities for paddlefish anglers and archers.

The proposal would allow snagging of paddlefish on the Big Sioux River during the October paddlefish season below Gavins Point Dam. Currently, Iowa allows anglers to snag on the Big Sioux River up to the Interstate 29 Bridge. This rule change would allow South Dakota anglers to snag paddlefish in the Big Sioux River up to the Interstate 29 Bridge.

The proposal would also change the dates of the archery paddlefish season; making it earlier in the summer. This will allow archers a better chance to harvest paddlefish on the Missouri River downstream from Gavins Point Dam. The proposed season is for 30 consecutive days during the month of June. The current archery paddlefish season runs for 30 consecutive days; beginning on the second Saturday in July.

The Commission will finalize this proposal at their Oct. 1-2, 2015, meeting at the Spearfish Holiday Inn Convention Center. Written comments can be sent to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be part of the official public record, comments must be received by 12 p.m. on Oct. 1 MDT. Please include your full name along with the city and state of residence. If you would like to comment in person, the public hearing will be held Oct.1, at 2 p.m. MDT.

-GFP-