Well, fall and winter seem to be flying. We have had some snow and cold weather but the roller coaster continues with weather in South Dakota.

It will not be long and the livestock producers will be calving and with that will come an influx of coyotes around those calving pastures. If you notice coyotes running cattle or trying to get newborn calves, do not hesitate to give me a call. I can come out and help remove those problematic coyotes. Our coyote population for now seems stable and a good fur market outlook should have added to an increased harvest. We shall see how things fair on the Canadian fur auction in the coming months.

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The work on deer depredation has been very light so far this winter, with lower deer numbers and snow conditions still favorable for browsing the deer seem to not be a big issue so far. If we would experience some heavy snows and colder prolonged temperatures, that could change things. If you are having any issues with deer getting into and causing damage to stored grains, haystacks, etc, please let us know as we have various tools to help mitigate that damage also.

The beaver issues have slowed down with the ice covering up things and the beaver not as active above the ice line. I had a few beaver complaints that will need to be dealt with when ice out occurs. I have a list of names to work on once we experience less ice and more beaver activity.

If you have had issues with beaver and never got around to contacting our office feel free to do so and this spring we can come remove them, if they are still in the area and causing issues. The beaver fur market has never had a real rebound in many, many years and unfortunately $5 beaver pelts do not get many people excited about trapping beaver, which can just be a lot of hard work. It is too bad as the fur from beaver when prime is very soft and can be sheared down and feels very soft to the touch. The problem being lots more cost in manufacturing beaver fur than any of the other furs from our renewable resources the furbearing animals.

We have once again this year continued our deer collaring program and the helicopter has already been out and about in the Mitchell areas and points west and south and we have a lot of collars placed on our juvenile deer herd. They will be monitored for habitat use, mortality, and any diseases that might pop up. We cannot do this work without the landowners who allow us to come out and collar deer on their property. We would like to give a big thank you to those that allow such to take place. It can be a very hectic time, with collars, the helicopter and working the deer up as fast as possible to cause them as little stress as possible. Yet the cooperation of landowners and GF&P make these studies a success and are valuable information for protecting our wildlife resources. If you have any questions or concerns in wildlife matters feel free to contact me. If I do not have the answer, I will try and get you to someone who does.

Randy Becker is a South Dakota  Game, Fish & Parks Department wildlife damage specialist who serves the counties of Davison, Hanson, Hutchinson, Bon Homme and Yankton.