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western Regional Advisory panel

February 27, 2014

Panel Members Present: Terry Mayes, Rolf Kraft, Dennis Nash, Jerry Hirrschoff, Ken McIlravey, Travis Bies, Jeff Sleep, Scott Phillips, Derek ALexander

GFP Personnel present: Kintigh, Mikkelson, McCormick, Meiers, Apland

We started the meeting with a discussion on the first Elk Stakeholder meeting. 4 of our panel members sit on the Stakeholder panel. GFP did most of the talking and presented a lot of information. Was very little time for the panel members to ask questions and provide input. All in all, the meeting was a success. Mayes - thought it was really good, set the stage for the next meeting. A brief discussion of elk starting to take hold in Harding Co. in the Cave Hills and Slim Buttes was led by Dennis Nash.

A general discussion on the progress of the 2014 Mtn lion season was held. We are currently at 42 total lions, 27 females & 25 males. We discussed the harvest limit and season design. Mike brought up the biggest issue this year so far - which is the taking of Kittens. Several small lions under 40 pounds have been harvested and have captured the attention of the public. Mike asked for recommendations from the panel to address the kitten issue. Taking pictures of the kittens harvested was mentioned by Mayes. These pictures could then be shown to inquiring public to appease their concerns that they were spotted. Nash suggested changing the current rule to eliminate the wording of taking a spotted kitten but keeping the wording regarding prohibition of taking a lion when accompanied by another. The use of hounds was discussed - pros and cons. 2 examples of enforcement cases made this year were discussed to demonstrate GFP does take the lion laws seriously. Mayes commented this information needs to be dispersed to the public to show the Dept. is proactive in enforcing the lion laws. A further discussion on the accompaniment law - possibly doing away with it also.

Conducted a review of the legislative bills this year, Dept. positions on various bills, and outcomes / effects. Ran through the GFP Bill list - not touching on all of them, but many of them. T Mayes recommends the State does a summer study on the Water Rights issue - SB 169, stating it is much too big of an issue for GFP to tackle on it's own. Issue of feral hogs came up. T Mayes recommended that GFP get active and propose some legislation to control / eliminate the threat of hogs in SD. D Nash suggested that if hogs showed up, the landowners would likely take care of the matter quickly.

R. Kraft - has interest in Bennett Co in having a later antelope season. They have a migratory population of antelope there, coming north out of Nebraska in early November - with the hunting opportunity being better later in the year. R Kraft suggested GFP explore a early November additional time frame for hunting antelope in Bennett Co. This would provide an opportunity to hunt in cooler weather and with higher populations. DCOs Meiers mentions that at approximately this time, antelope bucks begin to loose their horn sheaths, making taking a buck harder? Kraft indicated antelope depredation is a minor issue currently, but gets worse as the population grows. GFP did a winter aerial survey and the data was determined to be statistically insignificant as far as indicating a population increase late in the year. Kraft disagrees, he and friend did a random ground survey - and their counts indicated a growing herd late in the season. Kraft talked to Kanta at the SDTWS meeting in Chamberlin. Kraft reiterates there is considerable local interest in a later season. Kraft prefers an extra week or 9 days added later, November?

Regional Conservation Officer Supervisor, Scott Mikkelson starts his presentation on GFP Law Enforcement efforts. The program details the efforts on a few select, high profile wildlife cases

D Nash - asks to see a law change that would allow the taking of a hen pheasant. Not a biological concern to take a hen, make it part of the daily bag limit of 3 birds. This would allow for a mistake to be made and not result in mistakes being left in the field.

T Mayes - expressed questions on pay hunting for waterfowl by non-resident guides. These outfitters aren't paying sales tax he suspects. Not necessarily a GFP problem - more for Dept. of Revenue but wonders if the DOW works with Revenue in such cases?

D. Nash - questions if a landowner charges a fee of any kind - does his liability for the hunters also increase? Current laws protecting landowners were pulled up and viewed.

A general discussion on Trespass - Knowing and Unknowing was held. Within the Black Hills posting requirements are different and Nash questioned why. T Mayes commented that if a landowner accepted any kind of gratuity - it could be construed as a payment, subjecting him to more liability. J. Hirrschoff indicated an issue existed in the Black Hills, where public roads were being posted private property, no hunting where it is in fact not private. What can be done about this?

Close out summary of the meeting.
Dennis Nash introduces one last issue and requests the DOW explore / push for more M-44 classes for landowner certification. The Dept of Ag held one class this past fall - but gave notification of where and when the class would be held far to late for many owners to attend. Many landowners were disappointed in how the Dept of Ag conducted the class.

Next meeting of the WRAP tentatively scheduled for  May 29th , 2014.

Dismissed at 2:00PM