To the Editor:
I have a ton of respect for the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks and they usually do a good job. However, I believe they misfired with the deer application proposal for 2019. Personnel from the GF&P office designed this proposal and the GF&P Commission consisting of eight members appointed by the governor will decide its fate.
The GF&P conducted five focus groups (45 participates in each) across the state a few months ago. Even though the GF&P rep sugarcoated the proposals, only 46 percent favored them. These groups should have been open to the public.
The GF&P commission will hold public meetings at Lewis and Clark Resort in Yankton on Sept. 6 and at Cadillac Jacks, Spring Hill Suites in Deadwood on Oct. 4 to finalize or reject the proposal. These meeting are open to the public. The time to speak on the deer application is 2 p.m. with a signup sheet prior.
My family has enjoyed going West River and East River deer hunting for the past 30 years. With four sons and a truckload of grandsons we have enjoyed each other's company just as much as shooting a deer. All of us do not receive a tag each year but we still go together for harassing. The new proposal would limit family hunting as we know it under the current system. Sad.
Only 11 percent of all firearm deer hunters apply for two seasons according to figures from GF&P department based on the 2017 season. So what is wrong with the current system? Does money, out-of-state hunters, trophy hunters, come into play?
You may contact the GF&P commission members and voice your opinion. Go to the GF&P website. Or better yet, go to the September or October meeting.
Hopefully, the good people on the commission will vote with the majority of deer hunters and leave the deer application process as is. As renowned hunter and outdoor sports writer, Roger Wiltz, stated in a recent editorial "if it isn't broke, don't fix it." Amen.