South Dakota works to accommodate growing shooting sports community

Oahe Downstream Range in South Dakota

The number of Americans interested in the shooting sports grows every day. But with this popularity comes an increased need for safe and friendly shooting ranges around the country. Otto Jose of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrote an excellent article on how South Dakota is tackling the issue with help from the NRA and other conservation-focused organizations.

In 1937 the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act (PR) was authorized into law to restore and enhance wildlife species. It was and continues to be a major force and benefit to conservation efforts in the United States. It wasn’t until 1970 when a 10 percent excise on pistols and revolvers was amended into the Act which allowed for funding hunter education and shooting range development. Another amendment followed in 1972 that placed an 11 percent excise tax on archery equipment providing additional funding. These amendments opened the door for State agencies to begin investing in shooting range facilities for recreational shooters.

It’s no mystery to shooting sports enthusiast that finding a safe and convenient place to shoot is becoming more difficult. As our population continues to increase, areas that were once remote are now residential and commercial developments. Even in South Dakota with a population of only 845,000 there are areas in the State where finding a safe shooting range nearby can be a challenge.

More on South Dakota range improvements ...

From the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission - 2014 Fall Turkey Season Finalized

mountain lion image from NRA's American Hunter Magazine PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission has finalized the 2014 fall turkey hunting season. The fall turkey season will begin Nov. 1, 2014, and end Jan. 31, 2015.

Fall turkey hunters will see a reduction in turkey licenses available and the closure of several West River and East River counties. The Black Hills unit includes a boundary change which retains an open area on the eastern and southern areas of the Black Hills; including a reduction in licenses from 1,500 to 750. Fall turkey hunters will be limited to a total of two turkey licenses.

More on South Dakota's fall hunting seasons ...

From the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission - 2014 Deer hunting season finalized; proposes changes to turkey, antelope & goose season

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission logo Pierre, South Dakota - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized all 2014 deer hunting seasons at their June meeting in Yankton.  The most notable change from last year will be the reduction in the number of licenses and tags available to hunters. 

The West River firearm season will have a 17 percent reduction in licenses and a 56 percent reduction in tags, while the East River firearm season has a reduction of 22 percent in licenses and a 41 percent reduction in tags.

“These adjustments are intended to increase the deer population in areas where populations are below desirable management levels,” said Tom Kirschenmann, chief administrator of wildlife.

More on changes to South Dakota's 2014 hunting seasons ...

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks partner with Wyoming Game and Fish Hunter Education Program test tomorrow's hunters

Shooting at muzzleloader at 3-D targets during NRA's International Youth Hunter Education Challenge in Raton, New Mexico

Pierre, South Dakota - With the International Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) Championship a touch more than two months away, today's young hunters are flocking to their local YHEC competitions in an attempt to qualify for the national event. Believing in the old adage of killing two birds with one stone, South Dakota and Wyoming are teaming up to take care of the of their kids in one fell swoop.

Here's the plan.

More on South Dakota and Wyoming teaming up for NRA's YHEC ...

From the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission - 2014 ELK SEASONS SET

Elks - photo courtesy of American Hunter Magazine Pierre, South Dakota - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission finalized the 2014 elk hunting seasons at their April meeting in Oacoma.

The Custer State Park elk hunting season will run from Sept. 20-Oct. 5 with five "any elk" licenses available, one of which is set aside for a successful entrant in a raffle conducted by a nonprofit organization dedicated to big game management. The Custer State Park early archery elk hunting season will run from Sept. 1-30 with four "any elk" licenses available.

More on South Dakota's 2014 elk hunting season ...

Weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., influences Y.E.S. attendee's future education

Event Marketing and Communications Manager Nicole McMahon recently caught up with 2010 Youth Education Summit alumnus Joe Bliss, who is now interning with the NRA Institute for Legislative Action:

2010 Youth Education Summit attendee Joe Bliss of South Dakota

Since attending the NRA Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) in 2010 Joe Bliss has had one thing on his mind: politics. Now a junior at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D., Joe is double majoring in political science and criminal justice. After he obtains his degrees he plans to go to graduate school and break into state politics.

However, Joe isn't waiting until grad school to take action, he is setting the stage now to be a successful lawmaker as an intern with the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). Why did Joe come to Washington, DC to work for the NRA if he wants to be a South Dakotan politician?

"I am the state director for South Dakota's Students for Concealed Carry," said Joe. "I am advocating for a campus concealed carry bill and want to have our district representative sponsor the bill in 2015."

More on 2010 Y.E.S. attendee Joe Bliss ...

From the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission - Deer Hunting Seasons Finalized, South Dakota Antelope Hunting Season Proposed

DEER HUNTING SEASONS FINALIZED

Hunting pronghorn antelopes out west Pierre, South Dakota - The Game, Fish and Parks Commission has finalized all 2013 South Dakota deer hunting seasons.

The online application process for the hunting seasons will open in mid-June. A new paper application including all deer seasons will be available later this month. Deadline dates for submission of applications will vary and are specified within the application.

East River Deer season dates are Nov. 23-Dec. 8 for all tags, and Dec. 29-Jan. 5 for antlerless tags only. The deadline for license lottery applications is Aug. 30.

More on Hunting Deer & Antelope in South Dakota ...

From the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks - Youth Hunter Education Challenge returns to South Dakota

youths shooting rifle at NRA's Youth hunters education challenge

Pierre, South Dakota - Young hunters will get a chance to demonstrate both their shooting abilities and their knowledge of conservation at the 2013 Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) June 15 in Mitchell.

More on South Dakota's Youth Hunter Education Challenge ...

From the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission - Elk Seasons Finalized

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission logo Winner, South Dakota - The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Commission has finalized several elk-hunting seasons for 2013.

Archery elk hunters will have 92 "any elk" and 15 "antlerless elk" licenses available for the season. The 2013 Archery Elk Season will run from Sept. 1-30.

The Black Hills Firearms Elk Hunting Season will run from Oct. 1-31 for the "any" elk license holders. Antlerless elk seasons will run from Oct. 16-31 and Dec. 1-15. Black Hills Firearms Elk hunters will have 620 licenses available, comprised of 445 "any" and 175 "antlerless" licenses.

More on South Dakota's 2013 Elk Hunting Season ...

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