Trappers face a live-bait ban
SYLVAN LAKE -- Trappers in South Dakota have increasingly used live animals, including domestic cats and rabbits, and live birds as bait during recent years, according to state wildlife officials. Now the practice might be outlawed.
The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission will hold a public hearing June 5 in Yankton at its next meeting.
The commission also is considering a requirement that trappers remove all equipment from public land and public rights of way prior to May 1.
The August goose hunt dates also might be changed.
The proposal calls for changing the starting date from the first Saturday of August to the third Saturday of August.
If approved, the hunt would run Aug. 16 through Aug. 31. The hunt is intended to reduce goose populations. Hunters can take 15 geese apiece per day.
The hunt is conducted in Brookings, Brown, Clark, Codington, Day, Deuel, Hamlin, Hanson, Hutchinson, Grant, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Marshall, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington (west of the Cheyenne River), Roberts, Spink, Turner and Union counties.
Last year 2,345 hunters went to the field. They reported harvesting 18,592 geese. Those numbers were down from 2012 when there were 3,581 hunters who reported taking 36,757 geese.
The August hunt is open only to South Dakota residents. Commissioner Jim Spies, of Watertown, said he hears many opinions about the hunt, including questions about why nonresidents aren't allowed if the goal is to reduce geese numbers.
"We'd like to shoot this many," Spies said, raising his hand above his head, then dropping it down, "but we're only killing this many."
The goose starting date change will also be considered at the public hearing June 5.