GF&P keeps starting date for archery deer hunting
OACOMA -- South Dakota's main archery season for hunting deer isn't changing, at least for now.
The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission rejected a request Thursday to open the season two weeks earlier by shifting to the second Saturday in September.
The commission's 6-0 decision keeps the opener on the fourth Saturday of September -- at least for this fall and probably next year, too.
The state Wildlife Division plans to develop a management plan in 2015 for all deer hunting seasons.
The starting date and length of the archery hunt will be part of the considerations, game chief Tom Kirschenmann said.
There were 39 e-mails and letters supporting the earlier start and 16 in opposition. One person testified at the public hearing held by the commission Thursday.
Chris Hesla, of Pierre, spoke in support of the concept of an earlier start but said it's more important to get the new management plan done first.
"It's not the time," said Hesla, who is executive director for the South Dakota Wildlife Federation, a sportsman's group.
Kirschenmann said the easiest way to describe the comments is a diversity of opinions.
"A lot of good questions, a lot of good explanations," he said.
The deer management plan will include a public survey of thousands of sportsmen, and starting dates can be part of the survey, he said.
The concept began with legislation introduced during the 2014 session by Rep. Dan Kaiser, R-Aberdeen. Curtis Kline, of Aberdeen, said in a message to the commission that he had contacted Kaiser with the idea.