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GFP News - march 19, 2015


Call for Applications: 2015 Wildlife Habitat Award

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Division of the Izaak Walton League of America will once again sponsor the Annual Wildlife Habitat Award Contest giving this year’s first place winner a chance to meet Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

“I look forward to meeting this year’s Wildlife Habitat Award winner,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Whether it’s for pheasants, deer, antelope, geese or other wildlife, hunting is an honored tradition in South Dakota. The conservation efforts employed by the private citizens of South Dakota are integral to the quality of our natural resources and to the preservation of that tradition.”

The second and third place winners will receive plaques for their commitment to conservation.

The application must include images of the operation’s conservation practices and a narrative on all five of the following topics: natural resource management to benefit wildlife habitat, strong personal interest in exercising quality land stewardship, involvement in the community and other outreach efforts, varieties of wildlife and the utilization of cost sharing programs.

“This is an exciting opportunity for individuals to showcase their hard work of conserving South Dakota’s natural resources by promoting sustainable use and enjoyment of the soil, air, woods, waters and wildlife,” stated Kelly Kistner, South Dakota Izaak Walton President. “The winning applicant will receive a one-on-one meeting with the Governor and a plaque recognizing them for their efforts.”

The application deadline is Aug. 31, 2015. Applications can be sent to Larry G. Nelson, 303 N. Jackson, Pierre, SD 57501. For more information, please contact Larry at 605.224.8028.

Register Today for a South Dakota HuntSAFE Class

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) wants to remind parents and youth that now is the time to plan ahead and register for an upcoming HuntSAFE class near your community.

"Course availability becomes limited as the hunting seasons draw closer and we want parents and students to know that registering in advance is preferred and secures a reservation in the class," stated Jason Kool, GFP HuntSAFE coordinator. “If students are unable to attend the in-person class another option would be to do the independent study course which allows students the opportunity to complete the coursework online, at their own pace, and then attend a 4 to 6 hour field day. Not all communities offer this option, but those that do are listed online.”

A class listing can be found online at Search the class listing by city to find the best date and location, then click on the course of your choice and follow the instructions to complete the online class registration. Walk-ins are accepted on a space-available basis, but there are no guarantees. Pre-registration is highly recommended and required for most classes.

Students interested in either the traditional classroom or independent study format must register online at For those wanting to take the independent study option, students must register for their field day and then complete the online course offered at Students must take the course and print off their field day qualifier certificate and bring it to the field day. The traditional classroom course is free for the student and the independent study HuntSAFE courses cost $15.

About the HuntSAFE Program in South Dakota: HuntSAFE is designed for youth ages 12 through 15. If a student's 12th birthday falls on or between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31, they may be issued a card and are eligible to obtain a license and hunt beginning Sept. 1 of that year. Adults are also welcome and invited to attend with their student or take either the course on their own as many states require certification for adults as well. For more information, visit  or call 605.223.7700.

Trophies, Bows and Scholarships Up for Grabs at
National Archery in the Schools Tournament

PIERRE, S.D. - Youth from across South Dakota will have a chance to show off their archery skills at the 6th annual National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Tournament March 27-28, 2015, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

Approximately 700 elementary, middle and high school students from across the state will compete for individual and team honors in three age divisions. The top three individual and team winners will receive trophies and the overall individual winners will also be awarded a free bow, compliments of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP). One student in each age division will also be awarded scholarship money provided by the NASP Foundation, Cabela’s, Jones County Sportsman’s Club and many archery enthusiasts across South Dakota. Students who participate in NASP within their schools or home school program are eligible for this competition.
“It’s gratifying to see so many schools introduce the sport of archery into their curriculum,” stated Jason Kool, GFP NASP coordinator. “Studies have shown that students who participate in NASP like school better and attend school more often. NASP is a great partnership between GFP and local school districts.”

The tournament begins at 5 p.m. MDT on March 27 and concludes with a trophy ceremony on March 28. The public is invited to attend and there is no admission charge. Individuals who want to volunteer and help with the tournament may contact Curt at 605.220.2130.

July Fourth Camping Reservations
in State Parks Open Soon

PIERRE, S.D. - As spring comes to South Dakota, thoughts turn to summer planning. Be sure to include plans for summer camping trips, as reservations for the Fourth of July weekend open up soon in South Dakota State Parks.

“July can seem ages away, especially when snow in April isn’t unheard of in South Dakota, but spots fill up quickly.” said Doug Hofer, state parks director. “Fourth of July weekend is always a busy time in the parks, so campers will need to plan ahead and make reservations as soon as possible to get their favorite camping spots."

April 4 is the first day to make reservations for a July 3 arrival, which is the Friday of the Fourth of July weekend. Reservations open 90 days in advance of the arrival date, so those arriving earlier can make reservations earlier. As a holiday weekend, a minimum three-night stay is required.

To reserve your spot, go online at or call 800.710.2267.

Reservations open at 7 a.m. CT on the first day of the 90-day period, both online and through the call center, which are open 24 hours a day after opening. A non-refundable reservation fee of $7.70 is applied to each site; however, this fee is waived for state residents. Taxes also apply.

Campers can make reservations for arrivals up to one year out at Custer State Park and for all of the parks’ group lodges.

For more detailed information on making reservations or to view the 90-day window calendar, visit or contact the Division of Parks and Recreation office at 605-773-3391 or email


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