SDBI and SDBGC Deer Management Considerations

Currently the SD GF&P is working on an updated Deer Management plan for the state of SD.  While the public comment period is now over, many organizations and individuals have submitted lists of considerations that they believe could greatly improve deer management and deer hunting across South Dakota.  Dana Rogers of the South Dakota Big Game Coalition and Jim Peterson of South Dakota Bowhunters Inc. recently sent over their letters of input for wider consideration throughout the hunting community.

On May 4-5th in Custer State Park, the commission will seek to officially adopt a new Deer Management Plan for the state.

South Dakota Big Game Coalition & South Dakota Bowhunters Inc.

With regard to the current DRAFT Deer Management plan being considered by the SD GF&P Commission, the we wish to provide the following inputs for consideration.

1. The firm position that NO additional technology be added to what is currently allowed during archery seasons. For example: electronics (on bow), crossbows, air bows, etc.

2. Eliminate Non-Resident (NR) Unlimited Archery permits. Cap the NR archery permits at 8% of the resident archers. In 2015 23,507 archery tags were sold to residents, 3,180 sold to non-residents. By limiting to 8% it would drop the tags to 1,880 tags for nonresidents. Also, implement a point system with a nominal point fee. Other states charge $30-$50 for a deer point. This is primarily geared to assist resident bowhunters who are often outnumbered on our public lands during archery seasons. We continue to get reports from areas in eastern SD, along the Missouri River corridor and on public lands like the Custer National Forest about non-resident bowhunting pressure and its significance to the quality of experience resident bowhunters reap. With growing media attention from outdoor media and television featuring SD and a burgeoning 'outfitting' industry our great state is seeing a significant increase in NR bowhunting pressure. It's widely known by traveling NR's that if they don't draw in another western state that they can simply drive to SD and pick up a deer or even antelope combination hunt on short notice. This has a significant negative impact on SD Bowhunters in many areas of our state.

3. End all non-depredation Deer seasons on Dec 31. We feel the January deer seasons are no longer biologically necessary. We'd like to see all non-depredation seasons closed on December 31st each year. We already have 16 days of rifle seasons (ER/WR), 30 days of Muzzleloader and Black Hills, as well as 3+ months of archery, does should be harvested then. If someone wants to shoot a doe, they have ample opportunity. January is often a very stressful time on wildlife with weather. Bucks are shedding their antlers and does are conserving energy to grow their fawns. Though this would be "giving up" the Jan 1-15 additional antlerless archery season, we feel the benefits to the deer herd outweigh the limited use during that late season.

4. More and improved hunter surveys. Make all big game hunters complete a mandatory harvest survey each year. Create a hunter ID and require within 24 hrs. of a successful harvest a report is completed online or on an I-phone. Many other states already use this method. It's immediate and accurate with 100% data reported for your management decisions. I know many within the department have great confidence in your current models with a percentage surveyed each year. I'd point out that we don't have that type of Data coming back for bowhunters, and I can't imagine there is a good handle on where bowhunters are hunting and harvesting the deer we do take. Many bowhunters and special buck tag holders hunt multiple counties but we don't know which and how much pressure is applied. Improving survey questions by eliminating "Neutral" and providing more tailored survey answers and opportunities for detailed responses would also provide more and perhaps better feedback to state GFP personnel. The state of New Mexico and even our own Rosebud Sioux Tribe requires a hunter to submit an annual hunting survey or they aren't allowed to draw a permit the following year.

5. Significantly increase non-resident Big Game permit fees. Our NR big game permits are currently $286. MT is $602*, NE $600* , IA $551, KS $442.50, CO $389, WY $312 and ND $277. Plus you have to take into account Preference Point fees in many of those states and that runs it even higher in cost. A significant increase in NR deer permit fees would generate revenue to off-set the loss of license fees cutting those tags would cause. Again, the thinking is to reduce NR pressure significantly that puts undue pressure on public areas and cause direct competition with our resident deer hunters (particularly bowhunters). * combination with general hunting license.

  • Travis Sivertsen
  • Dana Rogers
  • Rick Hanson
  • Jesse Kurtenbach
  • Dylan Deuter

Founders, SDBGC

  • Jim Peterson

President, SDBI

Columnist: Jason Boke

Jason founded 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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