Deer Management Plan Discussion

Recently I had the chance to sit down with long-time SD resident hunter and landowner Russ Roberts who was invited to participate as a stakeholder in the development of the Deer Management Plan Draft for the State of SD.  Russ has  personally authored a proposal that is circulating throughout the state, portions of which are also being considered by GFP.  Public comments and input is currently being accepted by GFP until April 16th, and on May 4-5th in Custer State Park, the commission will seek to officially adopt a new Deer Management Plan for the state.

In this video, Russ explains some of the significant changes that  his particular proposal addresses, and why he believes they will be good for hunters in SD.

*A comment section and contact information for GFP and Russ have been made available at the end of this article - give us your thoughts!

Here's what others have to say about the proposed changes Russ has put forward:

" SDWF supports this proposal to improve deer management in SD and urges GF&P to continue to study and implement the plan."

Bill Antonides - South Dakota Wildlife Federation

"Russ has spent untold hours studying this issue and is truly a defender of the deer population and a conservationist in every sense of the word. Some may be skeptical. I was too when I first talked to him. Trying to solve the issue of license allocation is important to bowhunters and I believe Russ' plan gets to that issue. Is it perfect? Nothing is perfect in life. Is it an attempt at a better management of the deer population? I think so but I know some disagree. The hard, cold reality is that if the number of deer killed by bowhunters increases to a point where it is significant to the harvest goal we will lose the unlimited draw regardless of whether that increase occurs because of increased number of bowhunters or the use of crossbows and other technology that ups the success rate. I would ask that SDBI support Russ' proposal as have SD Wildlife Federation and others." 

Mike McKnight addressing the South Dakota Bowhunters, Inc on 2/25/17

* SDBI's position on the management plan is unknown at this time.

The video interview addresses multiple issues and proposed changes:

  • Introduction
  • Current SD Deer Hunting [4:00]
  • Proposed Changes [6:19]
  • Proposal: License Allocation & Application Periods [9:26]
  • Proposal: Non-Resident Hunting Changes [18:26]
  • Proposal: Archery Deer Hunting Changes [24:25]
  • Proposal: Preference Points Changes [28:27]
  • Proposal: Landowner Preference Changes [31:20]
  • Proposal: Late Season Hunting Changes [36:30]
  • Proposal Hunter ID & Survey Changes [38:34]
  • Proposal: Outfitting and Guiding [43:14]

For More information on the Deer Management Plan:

Contact Information:

To provide feedback directly to the GFP for discussion and review, email your comments and input to  [email protected]

OR you can mail your written comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, S.D. 57501 ( please include your full name and address).

OR Contact Russ directly:   [email protected]

Columnist: Jason Boke

Jason founded SouthDakotaHunting.com in 2010 in an effort to help hunters and outfitters from across South Dakota share stories and photos with hunting enthusiasts nationwide. As a fourth generation South Dakotan and an avid hunter, writer, and technology junkie, he utilizes this website to help promote ethical hunting values, support and promote South Dakota based hunting businesses and ensure that hunting traditions are passed on to future generations.

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