South Dakota Moves to a Multi-Year Schedule for Setting Hunting Seasons
With the start of the new year, comes the start of a new multi-year season setting schedule for several hunting seasons and regulations in South Dakota.
Historically, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and the Commission reviews and discusses all hunting and fishing seasons as well as other regulatory items at monthly Commission meetings held across the state. At times, season date changes and regulation changes occur; especially to big game hunting seasons and corresponding license and tag allocations. At other times, no changes are made for several seasons for multiple years.
The multi-year season setting process was a recommendation of the independent big game management review in 2013. “This revised process will help us be more efficient with our time and more effective with our management strategies,” stated Tony Leif, director of the GFP Division of Wildlife. “Setting multi-year seasons allows us to spend more time collecting important data and drafting plans to guide the direction of big game management and ultimately the structure of the hunting seasons.”
Hunting seasons for big game species such as elk, deer, antelope, mountain lion, turkey and fishing regulations will now be reviewed and set in two-year intervals. Hunting seasons for species such as pheasant, quail, grouse, dove and partridge will now be reviewed and set in three-year intervals. Depredation hunts and any refuge seasons will also be reviewed and set in three-year intervals. Waterfowl and nonresident waterfowl hunting seasons will continue on an annual cycle due to the federal framework set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the new authority granted to the Commission to set nonresident license numbers and license distribution.
“An important aspect of this new approach is that the Department and the Commission will continue to have the ability to react to unforeseen circumstances that occasionally impact wildlife populations any time those circumstances arise,” explained Leif.
The multi-year season setting schedule was presented to the Commission by the Department and was approved this past November. To view this new season setting schedule, visit: http://gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/meetings.aspx. GFP also provides monthly information on what has been approved and/or rejected at each of the monthly Commission meetings (no meetings held in February or September).