PIERRE — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) Commission heard three public petitions at their November meeting, sidelining requests on minimum harvest amounts for hunting preserves and to change the season dates for the Low Plains duck zone season.
The meeting was held Nov. 5-6 via conference call and Zoom.
The request for the change to the Low Plains duck zone was submitted by Brad Cameron, of Avon. Cameron asked that the opening dates of the Low Plains Duck Zone (located in the southeastern portion of the state) be two weeks earlier to coincide with Nebraska’s duck season.
“The Nebraska residents and the non residents with Nebraska licenses get first chance with all the local ducks before we can even start hunting,” Cameron wrote.
Cameron also stated that most ducks have left the area by Christmas, so it would not drastically affect late season hunting opportunities.
The GF&P denied the petition, citing a need for a larger conversation around these aspects of waterfowl hunting.
“Establishing start dates for waterfowl hunting seasons is always challenging in meeting all the desires of all hunters,” said GF&P Wildlife Director Tom Kirschenmann. “Weather plays a major role in this issue, which none of us can control, but we look forward to having conversations on this with staff and duck hunters. Because the last change to this season date was just implemented in 2018, we would like more data before changing it back again so soon.”
A petition submitted by Josh Lieberman, of Pierre, asked the commission to remove the minimum pheasant release requirement that currently pertains to hunting preserves based on the idea that this requirement may inhibit small business.
The commission denied the petition based on the fact the department is having on-going discussions with preserves. In addition, the commission believes the minimum release requirement is necessary to help minimize concerns over wild bird harvest.
“As a department, we would like the opportunity to continue conversations we’ve been having with the shooting preserve industry,” Kirschenmann said. “It’s important that we fully vet this idea and get perspective from many preserves on this topic.”
One petition was accepted by the GF&P Commission, brought by Jeremy Silko, of Rapid City. Silko’s petition requested that the commission consider adding non-toxic fluted copper bullets to the currently allowed soft point and expanding bullets for big game hunting. The petition requested the commission reach out to manufacturers of these projectiles and research their performance. Silko stated that these bullets would give hunters more options when looking for non-toxic ammunition.
After discussion on the opportunity to use a non-toxic bullet, the commission accepted this petition.
“There’s been discussion on this topic in recent years, in particular on ammunition which is non-toxic,” Kirschenmann said. “Accepting this petition will allow the commission to hear public input on the matter and then make a decision about pursuing it further.”
To see the petitions in their entirety, visit gfp.sd.gov/commission/information. The next GF&P Commission meeting will be held Dec. 1-2, tentatively at the AmericInn in Fort Pierre.