By Lars Dalseide | June 17 2014 20:06

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.

Deer hunters participating in the archery, muzzleloading and youth deer seasons will see decreases in the number of available deer licenses and where antlerless deer tags are valid. For the archery and muzzloading season, hunters will be limited to one antlerless license for each season and those licenses will only be valid for whitetail antlerless deer and in certain areas within the state. Youth deer hunters will be limited to one any antlerless deer tag but will be able to hunt statewide.

In addition, deer hunters with an archery, muzzleloading or youth deer license will be required to obtain a free access permit to hunt on the Hill Ranch Game Production Area in Fall River County (Unit 27L), Custer National Forest lands in Harding County (Unit 35L) and the Little Moreau Game Production Area in Dewey County (Unit 24B). Permits are free of charge and unlimited. The issuance of these permits will allow the department to collect important management information such as hunter use and harvest information from hunters who use these areas during these seasons.

For additional details on the materials provided to the Commission as well as the minutes from the June meeting, please visit: https://gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/default.aspx.

2014 fall turkey, antelope and early fall goose seasons proposed

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed several hunting seasons at their June meeting in Yankton.

Mark Keefe and his pronghorn antelope at the Tillard's 55 Ranch The proposed 2014 fall turkey hunting season includes some notable changes from the 2013 season. The proposed start dates would be moved back to Nov. 1 instead of beginning Oct. 1. The end date of Jan. 31 remains unchanged. Fall turkey hunters would see a reduction in turkey licenses available and closure of several West River and East River turkey hunting units. The Black Hills unit includes a boundary change which retains an open area on the eastern and southern tier of the Black Hills; including a reduction in licenses by 750.

The proposed 2014 firearm antelope hunting season would run from Oct. 4-19 and have 2,705 licenses available for residents and 61 licenses available for nonresidents. The proposed season would call for a closure of Tripp and Lyman counties as well as the Fort Pierre National Grasslands. If adopted as proposed, these three units would also be closed to archery antelope hunting.

The Custer State Park antelope hunting season will remain the same as last year as no actions were taken on this season. Three licenses are available and the season will run from Oct. 15-23.

The Commission proposed an early fall Canada goose season of Sept. 1-30. The Commission proposal would modify the boundaries of Unit 1 to include the portion of Perkins County west of S.D. Highway 75 and south of S.D. Highway 20 and expand Unit 2 by adding all of Custer, Fall River and Pennington counties.

As a result of the continual decline in the number of male sage grouse observed during the spring lek survey, the sage grouse season will remain closed in 2014.

The youth waterfowl hunting season will also remain under the same structure as 2013, which will run Sept. 20-21.

The Commission will take final action on these proposals on July 8-9, 2014, at the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Pierre. To view these rule proposals in their entirety, please visit https://gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/default.aspx. Written comments on these proposals can be sent to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, S.D. 57501, or emailed to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be included in the public record, comments must be received by 12 p.m. CDT on July 8 and have your full name and city of residence.

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