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Group bag limits get endorsement by SD House for hunting and fishing

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Group bag limits get endorsement by SD House for hunting and fishing
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

PIERRE -- Lots of people have done it for lots of years. Now the state House of Representatives wants to legalize party fishing and party hunting.

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House members voted 69-0 Wednesday for legislation that allows a group of anglers or hunters to combine their bag limits. Under the proposed change, it wouldn't matter how many fish or pheasants or other small game any one person happened to get, so long as they didn't exceed the possible total together.

The prime sponsor of HB 1149 is Rep. Spence Hawley, D-Brookings, a former member of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission. The arrest of an angler last year for over-bagging in the Madison area while fishing with another man brought the matter to the public's attention.

Hawley said the conservation officers did the right thing in that instance, but the law needs to be changed to reflect the common practice of party fishing and party hunting by many anglers and many pheasant hunters.

"The policy is we don't charge them for that," Hawley said. "All I'm trying to do is make it legal."

The measure now goes to the Senate, where Republican Mike Vehle of Mitchell is the lead sponsor.

The exemption wouldn't apply to big-game hunting. It also wouldn't apply to waterfowl hunting because ducks and geese fall under federal regulations in addition to state rules.

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