PIERRE, S.D — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission adopted their proposal to dissolve the West River prairie unit, switch to hunting units with license allocations and offer 105 fewer one-tag licenses for all prairie units combined.
Dissolving the West River unit aligns the fall units with spring unit boundaries. For the 2016 fall season, prairie units in western South Dakota will include Unit 30A (Gregory County); Unit 50A (Mellette County) and Unit 53A (Perkins County and the portion of Meade County north of US Hwy. 212).
The season will run from Nov. 1, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2017, and offer 400 resident and 32 nonresident Black Hills any turkey licenses and for the remainder of open units across the state 1,230 single tag any turkey and 50 two-tag licenses for residents along with 28 single tag any turkey licenses for nonresidents.
The current northeast (NE1) unit name has been changed to 48A and will include portions of Marshall County south and east of SD Highway 25 and north of SD Highway 10 as well as Roberts County north of SD Highway 10. In addition, the Davison and Hanson county unit has been modified to include only a smaller geographic area around the city of Mitchell.
2016 sage grouse hunting season finalized
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission voted to re-open the sage grouse hunting season at their July meeting.
The season has been closed since 2012 based on the number of male sage grouse counted on annual spring surveys. The GFP sage grouse management plan states that the season could open again if the spring lek survey count is over 250 male sage grouse on all leks. This year’s survey revealed a count of 278 male sage grouse.
The two-day season will run from Sept. 17-18 and allows 40 resident hunting permits with a limit of one sage grouse per hunter. If after the first drawing, permits are still available of the 40 limited, both residents and nonresidents are able to apply. Any leftover permits will be available first come, first-served.
Changes to state parks rules finalized
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized a number of items related to the operation of state parks, recreation areas and game production areas at their July meeting.
The first rule pertains to the time restrictions for using these lands. Parks staff ask people to leave areas after established hours if they are not engaged in legal activities cited in rule. Current rule language states that individuals may not enter the listed areas after the established hours, but does not address people continuing to “use or occupy” those areas after established hours for activities not cited in rule. The addition of the words use or occupy adds clarity to the rule purpose and intent.
The next rule cleans up language outlining the campsite reservation process. The current rule language was written before the availability of the current point of sale system, online campsite reservations and the 24/7 reservation call center.
The Commission also changed the terminology in regards to camping stays. Previously in rule, a camper could reserve an available campsite at any state park, recreation area or lakeside use area for up to 15 consecutive days. Campers will now be allowed to occupy a site for up to 14 nights. The time allowed to occupy a site has not changed, but 14 nights is more clearly understood than 15 days. When a camper arrives and occupies a site, that is their first night’s stay. When they have reached their fourteenth night’s stay, they must leave prior to check-out time on the fifteenth day.