Muskrat hunting would be limited under new seasonCUSTER — The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission is proposing an uncharacteristic restriction for South Dakota’s new muskrat hunting season that was established by the Legislature.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
CUSTER — The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission is proposing an uncharacteristic restriction for South Dakota’s new muskrat hunting season that was established by the Legislature.
The commission plans to close all public land to muskrat shooting. Trapping muskrats on public land would remain legal.
Normally, the commission is a promoter of public hunting areas and owns many thousands of acres of game and waterfowl areas for public use throughout South Dakota. For muskrats, however, hunting would be allowed only on private land by the property’s owner or operator.
Muskrat hunting also would be allowed along public roadways by government highway personnel acting in their official duties.
The season would run April 1 through Aug. 31 statewide.
The proposed regulations were discussed during the commission’s two-day meeting Thursday and Friday in Custer State Park. A public hearing will be held June 7 at the commission’s next meeting in Pierre.
At least one commissioner made clear he would prefer there wouldn’t be a muskrat hunting season.
John Cooper, of Pierre, pondered whether the Legislature should be asked next winter to repeal the new law.
Cooper was the state secretary of game, fish and parks in the Janklow and Rounds administrations. He said muskrats are fur-bearers that are valuable to trappers, and shooting muskrats damages the pelts, bringing a lower price.