Counties added to goose hunt
CUSTER -- The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission is proposing to add four counties to the special August hunt for reducing Canada geese populations that reside in eastern South Dakota.
Brown, Spink, Hutchinson and Turner counties would be added to the zone that already includes Brookings, Clark, Codington, Day, Deuel, Hamlin, Hanson, Grant, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Marshall, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Roberts and Union counties.
The season's purpose is to help landowners deal with crop damage from resident geese. The season has been in effect for two years and would run Aug. 11-26 this year. There were 3,211 hunters who harvested a total of 30,300 geese in the 2011 season.
The hunt is open only to South Dakota hunters. A federal waterfowl stamp isn't required, but a state small-game or combination license and a state migratory bird certification are necessary. The daily limit is eight geese.
A public hearing is set for June 7 at the commission's next meeting in Pierre.
GF&P biologists had planned for resident Canada geese populations totaling 80,000 to 90,000. The latest three-year average has been 186,000 birds.
The hunt officially is known as a management take. It is different than the general goose season and the early-fall goose season.
BRIEFLY: Doug Alvine is retiring in June after more than 35 years with the Game, Fish and Parks Department. He's been the Wildlife Division's regional supervisor for the northeast in recent years. A retirement event is planned in Watertown at the Elks Club June 1.
The state Parks and Recreation Division is working on changes to the Fort Randall Marina lease on the Missouri River. A final version will be presented for GF&P Commission consideration at the June meeting.
The fall turkey season will feature reductions in licenses and tags, especially in northeast units, where hunter demand wasn't as high as expected, and in the Black Hills. The season is proposed for Oct. 31 through Jan. 31.
The archery antelope season is proposed for Aug. 18-Oct. 31.