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South Dakota GFP Commission finalizes waterfowl season, brings forth new proposals at May meeting in Custer

The commission met to finalize four proposals and begin discussion on seven other wildlife proposals.

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Scout, the Mitchell Republic editor's black lab, retrieves a Canada goose in a chopped corn field.
Luke Hagen / Mitchell Republic
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CUSTER, S.D. — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) Commission held their May meeting at the Custer State Park Event Barn on May 5-6, finalizing various proposals while opening for public commentary on others.

Here's a look at what was discussed:

Finalizations

Waterfowl seasons

The Commission finalized several waterfowl seasons. Some of the highlighted proposed changes to these seasons include mergansers in the daily duck limit bag — which previously had a separate bag limit — and the removal of restrictions for nonresident hunters in the counties of Beadle, Brookings, Hanson, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Sanborn, Turner and Union for the early fall Canada goose hunting season.

License allocation

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The Commission removed the requirement for unlimited access permits for archery, muzzleloader, mentor, youth and apprentice deer license holders to hunt certain deer hunting units and public lands.

They will also limit the number of archery access permits for Unit WRD-27L to no more than 20 "any deer" access permits for residents and no more than five "any deer" access permits for nonresidents.

State migratory bird certification

The Commission voted to separate the state migratory bird certification permit from the nonresident spring snow goose, nonresident early fall Canada goose licenses, nonresident three-day licenses and nonresident youth waterfowl licenses while also decreasing applicable license fees by $5 each.

Indian Springs and Antelope Lake

The Commission voted to change the date and area requirements where no shooting or fishing from a boat is allowed on Indian Springs from Oct. 10-Dec. 31 to Oct. 20-Dec. 31. Antelope Lake in Clark County was also added to the list of waters where shooting or fishing from a boat is prohibited during those dates.

More information on any of the above finalizations can be found on the GF&P's website.

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Turkeys gather in a field near Mitchell.
Mitchell Republic file photo

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Wildlife proposals

Statewide turkey hunting recruitment licenses

The Commission continued discussion on the proposal to establish 10 turkey hunting recruitment licenses to be used statewide with the exception of Custer State Park. Establishing a statewide license would increase the number of areas that can be hunted, as not all counties or units have a spring turkey hunting season.

These licenses would be eligible for non-governmental organizations (NGO) that promote wildlife conservation and the recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters. Up to two licenses could be allocated to an individual NGO.

A mentored youth turkey recruitment license sponsored by an NGO would be available to children 15 and under that do not already possess any type of spring turkey hunting license. The sponsoring NGO would cover the $5 cost of the mentor tag while assisting the youth through the licensing process.

Fall turkey hunting season

The Commission proposed a 2022 and 2023 fall turkey hunting seasons to run from Nov. 1 through the end of January. 200 resident and 16 nonresident single tag “any turkey” licenses would be available for the Black Hills, while 1,700 single tag and 50 double tag “any turkey” resident licenses and 72 single and 4 double tag “any turkey” nonresident licenses would be available for the prairie units.

Sage grouse hunting season

The Commission voted to keep the sage grouse hunting season closed for 2022 due to low lek counts. For a season to be proposed, a count of 300 or more male sage grouse must be counted for consecutive years. Counts in Harding and Butte County totaled 173.

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Mourning dove season

The Commission proposed to allow mourning dove hunting at Shadehill State Recreation Area in Perkins County. This would provide additional hunting opportunities without compromising the objectives and services provided of the recreation area.

Custer State Park bison hunts

The Commission proposed no changes to the trophy and non-trophy Custer State Park bison hunting seasons. The season is set with eight trophy bison licenses and 15 non-trophy licenses available.

Buffalo sunset
A herd of buffalo grazes on a ridge as the sun sets in Custer State Park in the Black Hills. The park has a free-roaming buffalo herd of about 1,300 animals.
Photo courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism

Archery, muzzleloader deer rules

The Commission proposed an adjustment to an administrative rule that would allow for one antlerless whitetail deer muzzleloader or archery deer license in only those units that offer firearm antlerless deer licenses. This proposal would also exclude Custer State Park from the archery and muzzleloader deer hunting seasons.

Chronic Wasting Disease regulations

The commission proposed a clean up of administrative rule, clarifying that wildlife processors have to dispose of all cervids, specifically deer and elk, in approved permitted landfills or with a waste management provider.

More information on any of the above proposals can be found on the GFP's website.

Public comment currently accepted

The GFP is seeking public comments on their proposals. Comments can be submitted through a form on their website, or via mail to 523 E. Capitol Ave, Pierre, S.D.

To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on May 30.

To hear the discussion on these proposals, audio from the meeting is available through South Dakota Public Broadcasting and will soon be available on the GF&P website as part of the meeting archive .

The next GF&P Commission meeting will be held June 2-3 in Aberdeen.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "Mitchell Republic." Often, the "Mitchell Republic" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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