Commission meeting archives


june 2012 Commission Meeting

June 7-8, 2012

Rules Proposed at this Meeting


Division of Administration

Action Items
Approve minutes of the May 3-4, 2012, meeting
Additional Commissioner Salary Days
License List Requests

  • K&M Hunting, Plankinton, for list of 4,000 nonresident small game license holders to advertise business; approved
  • Cabelas for list of all 2012 resident and nonresident small game license holders to mail catalog; approved

Information items
License Sales Report

  • Total general license sales at 160,000 for 2012 compared to123,000 at same time in 2011; Resident Annual Fishing License at 46,000 compared to 30,000 in 2011; Resident Combination License at 35,000 compared to 29,000 in 2011; Nonresident Annual Fishing at 11,000 compared to 6,500 in 2011
  • Typically see minimum of 75% of fishing license sales completed by the end of June

Open Forum

  • Terry Mayes, landowner in Tripp County and active in a variety of sportsmen’s groups and advisory boards, would like to see more liberalized northern pike fishing in the Black Hills Fire Protection district to thin down the pike in the area; movement underway to partner with private groups to hire a full-time biologist to help manage and protect the bighorn sheep population in S.D. and this would be very worthwhile, group would like to auction a bighorn sheep license to help fund the position and Mayes does not favor this auctioned license going to out of state individuals but need for the funds is more important than factor that an out of stater may have the winning bid for the license; mountain lions have been a contentious issue for a number of years and commends the Commission for their work on this issue, the end result is down the road but headed in the right direction and applauds the Commission for their efforts
  • Darrell Moffit, Iroquois, representing landowners about GFP policy of burning on Game Production Areas, feels this has been destructive to habitat and will be harmful to wildlife and in particular to the local pheasant population; common sense says that depleting habitat will harm population; burning of nesting areas in the spring has got to stop; burning GPA’s is not the way to get along with landowners, farmer’s could put up 1/3 of the area one year and save the rest for nesting

Public Hearing

  • No oral testimony was presented


West River Hunting Season

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Proposed changes from 2011: Adjust resident license numbers by increasing one-tag licenses by 1,590, increasing two-tag licenses by 830 (1,660 tags), and decreasing three-tag licenses by 4,960 (14,880 tags) compared to 2011; Adjust nonresident license numbers by increasing one-tag licenses by 128, increasing two-tag licenses by 67 (134 tags), and decreasing three-tag licenses by 397 (1,191 tags) compared to 2011; Modify the boundary description for Unit WRD-27L to add some additional public lands adjacent to the Cheyenne River and Angostura Reservoir and to make the unit boundary more easily identifiable for hunters; Only unfilled “antlerless deer” and “antlerless whitetail deer” tags are valid during the antlerless deer season extension beginning the Saturday after Christmas; West River antlerless deer tags are not valid during the firearms antelope hunting season in their respective units
  • Season dates Nov. 10-25 with antlerless season Dec. 29-Jan. 6
  • Commission finalized the season as proposed

Black Hills Hunting Season

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Proposed changes from 2011: Offer residents 200 and nonresidents 16 fewer “Any” deer licenses than 2011; Offer residents 500 and nonresidents 40 fewer “Any Whitetail” deer licenses than 2011; Offer residents 50 and nonresidents 4 fewer “Antlerless Whitetail” deer licenses than 2011
  • Season dates Nov. 1-30
  • Commission finalized the season as proposed

Archery Deer Hunting Season

  • Proposed changes from 2011: Add Brookings, Deuel, Hamlin, and McCook counties to the restricted area where only one (1) single tag antlerless deer license is valid; “Any antlerless deer” licenses are not valid for the Sand Lake NWR; Modify rule to allow 45 “antlerless deer” and 5 “any deer” resident licensees to hunt deer at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve and 5 “antlerless deer” and 5 “any deer” resident licensees to hunt deer at the Blood Run Nature Area through the issuance of “Access Permits” issued via lottery drawing by the Department; Modify existing rule to allow an individual to possess an uncased bow and to allow the use of bow and arrow to hunt deer and turkey within the Blood Run Nature Area
  • Staff recommended change from proposal would eliminate the availability of unlimited 2-tag antlerless licenses
  • Season dates Sept. 22-Jan. 15
  • Commission amended the proposal as recommended by staff; and then finalized the season as amended

Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Season

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Proposed changes from 2011: Add Brookings, Deuel, Hamlin, and McCook counties to the restricted area where only one (1) single tag antlerless deer license is valid
  • Season dates Dec. 1-Jan. 15
  • Commission finalized the season as proposed

Youth Deer Hunting Season

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Season dates Sept. 8-Jan 15
  • Commission finalized season as proposed

Archery Antelope Hunting Season

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Proposed changes from 2011: Eliminate the two-tag license valid for one “any antelope” and one “doe-fawn” antelope; Include those portions of Custer and Pennington counties within the Black Hills Fire Protection District (except Custer State Park) and issue 5 access permits via lottery drawing to those licensees who possess a valid “any antelope” resident archery license
  • Season dates Aug. 18-Oct. 31 except closed when and where Firearm Antelope season is in progress
  • Commission finalized season as proposed

Fall Turkey Hunting Seasons

  • Proposed changes from 2011: Offer 490 more one-tag licenses and 1,630 fewer two-tag licenses for resident hunters on the East River Prairie Units; Offer 500 fewer one-tag licenses for resident hunters and 40 fewer one-tag licenses for nonresident hunters in the Black Hills; Close Harding and Turner counties to fall turkey hunting
  • Staff recommended change from proposal to lower the number of Black Hills tags from 2,500 to 2,000 resident tags, and from 200 to 160 nonresident tags
  • Season dates Oct. 1-Jan. 31
  • Commission amended the season as recommended by staff and finalized season as amended

Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Season

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Proposed changes from 2011: Allow a limited season in certain counties east of the Missouri River (Buffalo, Brule, Charles Mix, Bon Homme, and Yankton) with a limit of one bobcat per trapper or hunter
  • Season dates Dec. 8-Feb. 15 West River and Dec. 8-20 East River
  • Commission finalized season as proposed

Trapping Prohibitions

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Proposed changes from 2011: Change the date that traps may be placed prior to the mink season to be consistent with other administrative rules (i.e. sunrise of opening day); Clarify the dimensions of colony traps used for muskrat trapping as round and square traps are now being used and current rule only addresses round traps; Require on public lands and public road rights-of-ways statewide, that body grip traps with an opening greater than 36 sq. inches (larger than 160 Conibears) when used in conjunction with any bait, lure, or scent be recessed a minimum of seven inches in cubbies, baited box traps, or bucket traps
  • Commission finalized season as proposed

Muskrat Hunting Season

  • Proposed changes from 2011: Create a new administrative rule to initiate a limited hunting season for muskrats statewide to address damage to roads and other infrastructure as well as private property
  • Staff recommended change from proposal to include additional language that clarifies that School and Public Land surface lessees will be considered as “operators” on School and Public Lands that they hold a current lease
  • Season dates Apr. 1-Aug. 31
  • Commission amended the proposal as recommended and finalized the season as amended

August Management Take Goose

  • No staff recommended changes from proposal
  • Proposed changes from 2011: Expand the open area to include the counties of Brown, Hutchinson, Spink and Turner
  • Season dates Aug. 11-26
  • Goose Depredation Update: There are many geese in the state and there have already been depredation issues this spring; of $1.5 million budget for Wildlife Damage Management, approximately $500,000 goes to addressing goose damage; landowners who receive assistance in depredation problems are asked to provide reasonable public access to hunters; goal for SD of 80-90,000 Canada geese; 2011 estimate was over 227,000; as population has increased over the past decade, the number of depredation complaints have increased; have had 552 complaints working with 287 landowners so far in 2012 (172 at same time in 2011 and 167 in 2010); use electric fence to keep geese from field when they are molting and flightless; destroyed 1400 nests on 72 different locations impacting over 200 landowners; working with landowners to incorporate their help in hazing and removing geese; working with SDSU on new chemicals to help address problems; hunting most affective way to control wildlife populations and have taken around 30,000 geese in first two August Management takes (last year over 50,000 during Early Fall September season)
  • Commission finalized season as proposed

Administrative Rules Reduction

  • Multiple changes as part of rules cleanup being conducted by GFP
  • Recommended changes from proposal: as part of consolidating rules for sale of license lists additional language cleanup; big game licenses issued are valid only for the unit for which they are issued and entitle the licensee to hunt and possess one animal as specified by each tag issued with the license so language includes licenses and tags
  • Commission amended the proposal as recommended and finalized the changes as amended

Hunting Season Proposals

Antelope Hunting Seasons

  • Recommended changes from 2011: Antelope hunting season open to residents only; Offer resident hunters 165 less one-tag licenses and 1,015 less two-tag licenses (2,030 tags) than 2011
  • For the first drawing of the 2011 firearm antelope season application period there were 3,587 resident applicants who were unsuccessful for their first choice; resident hunters have expressed concern about losing opportunity to nonresidents
  • Season dates Sept. 29-Oct. 14
  • Staff is now winding up annual aerial survey of antelope population, most will be concluded in the next week; this will likely lead to some changes in license numbers at finalization; numbers appear to be holding steady to slight increase in northwest part of the state; decrease in numbers on eastern edge of range
  • Commission proposed season with recommended changes
  • CSP Antelope season finalized with no changes from 2011; Season dates Oct. 9-17 with 3 licenses available

East River Deer Hunting Season

  • Recommended changes from 2011: Offer 170 more one-tag, 1,740 less two-tag licenses, and 4,350 less three-tag licenses (overall decrease of 16,360 tags) than 2011; Only unfilled “antlerless deer” and “antlerless whitetail deer” tags are valid during the antlerless deer season extension beginning on the Saturday after Christmas
  • Season dates Nov. 17-Dec. 2 and antlerless extension from Dec. 29-Jan. 6
  • Last year harvest just over 35,000 deer, about 5,000 less than 2010; success 44%; about 20% of antlerless deer taken in January extension
  • Issued 3,400 land owner on their own land license and had 38% success on harvest; ER Special Buck harvest 290 deer; Free Landowner on own land license harvested 900 deer with 46% success
  • Refuge Deer had 81 harvested on Sand Lake with success at 18%; Waubay harvested 16 deer with 25% success; Lacreek harvested 25 deer with 45% success
  • With this, staff recommends decreasing harvest in some management units
  • Commission proposed season with recommended changes

Refuge Deer Hunting Season

  • Staff works closely with Refuge staff to develop recommendations
  • Recommended changes from 2011: Close the 4th dear season for Sand Lake NWR; Change “any deer + any antlerless deer” licenses to “any deer” licenses and change two-tag “any antlerless deer” licenses to “any antlerless deer” licenses for Sand Lake NWR; Offer resident hunters 150 less “any deer + any antlerless deer” licenses and 50 less two-tag “any antlerless deer” licenses for Sand Lake NWR and offer resident hunters 80 more “any deer” and 40 more “any antlerless deer” licenses for Sand Lake NWR; Offer nonresident hunters 15 less “any deer + any antlerless deer” licenses and 5 less two-tag “any antlerless deer” licenses for Sand Lake NWR, and offer nonresident hunters 7 more “any deer” and 4 more “any antlerless deer” licenses for Sand Lake NWR; Offer resident hunters 10 more “antlerless whitetail deer + antlerless whitetail deer” for Lacreek NWR than 2011; offer 15 fewer any deer licenses for Waubay Refuge
  • Sand Lake NWR continues to see a decline in available deer habitat due to high water levels, thus the reduction in licenses and the recommended change from double to single tag licenses. The 4th season at Sand Lake NWR is the least desired by hunters and refuge staff recommended closing this season with the intent to allow an undisturbed time for deer and an increase in hunter opportunity for the 5th deer season.
  • Commission proposed season with recommended changes

Early Fall Canada Goose

  • Recommended change from 2011: Increase the daily bag limit from 8 to 10 and the possession limit from 16 to 20; this recommendation will need approval from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Season dates Sept. 1-30
  • Commission  proposed season with recommended changes

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season

  • Recommended change from 2011: Adjust the start date from the Saturday prior to the last Saturday of September to 12 days after Labor Day
  • Season dates Sept. 15-16
  • Commission proposed season with recommended changes

Sage Grouse Hunting Season

  • No recommended change from 2011
  • Commission finalized this season with no changes
  • Season dates Sept. 26-27 with limit of 1 sage grouse for the season
Division of Parks and Recreation

Action items
Proposal: Pet Prohibition Amendment (Big Sioux Recreation Area dog training area)

  • Proposed rule change so a person may allow or possess a dog or dogs that are not on a leash while maintaining reasonable control of the dog(s), within any designated dog training area
  • A dog training area is being developed as part of the Big Sioux Recreation Area expansion; an exemption to the State Park pet prohibition is needed to allow dogs off their leash year-round for training purposes
  • Commission proposed rule amendment as recommended by staff

Proposal: Sheps Canyon Campground Fee

  • Add this campground as to Preferred Campground fee of $13.27
  • Development of this campground will include electricity, a modern comfort station with showers, garbage facilities and secure lighting; prior to this development there was only a boat ramp, parking lot and vault toilet
  • Sheps Canyon Campground becomes unit of Angostura Recreation Area and changes affect rules pertaining to part entrance permits and camping permit rule
  • Commission proposed rule amendment as recommended by staff

Fort Randall Concession Amendment

  • Lease agreement will transfer management of boat slips from a local boat club to the concessionaire and allow more access to slips as they become available; currently most are controlled by slip holders for transfer from one to another
  • Commission approved the amendment to the concession contract

Information items
Revenue and Visitation Report

  • Revenue is at $4.5 million in 2012 compared to $3.8 million in 2011; an 18.2% increase
  • Camping units are up 38.3% in 2012 compared to 2011
  • Visitation is up 22.2% in 2012 compared to 2011
  • This is the point where flood event created impact on 2011 park season and year-to-year comparisons will be difficult to judge in coming months

Campground Reservation/Point of Sale System

  • Selection of vendor for system; company original contract was with had sold out to a larger company that had monopoly on much of national park reservation business; went out with RFP and had good response
  • Leisure Interactive will be new vendor; has contract with Wyoming and do considerable business with private campgrounds; convinced this program will give best flexibility and best reporting abilities that are on the market; will feature a South Dakota-based call center
  • New system will transition in November
Division of Wildlife

Action items
Sportsmen Against Hunger Resolution

  • Commission asked to approve resolution that will allow GFP to proceed with support partnership with Sportsmen Against Hunger organization
  • Commission approved the resolution

Proposal: Elk License Raffle

  • Recommended rule change would allow the winner of the annual elk license raffle to hunt within any unit in the Black Hills beginning in 2013
  • currently confined to Custer State Park but low elk population in CSP has brought need to expand the area
  • Commission proposed change as recommended

Proposal: Dog Training

  • Recommended rule change to allow expanded use of public lands for game bird dog training under certain circumstances
  • Allowances will take into consideration game bird challenges that take place during the regular pheasant hunting season; these contests do not utilize wild birds and allows taking more captive birds; changes will require documentation for accountability
  •  Commission proposed change as recommended

Proposal: Hunting requirements and prohibitions

  • Recommended rule change will further define and add restrictions to bait stations for the purpose of hunting
  • Sets dates when person may not establish, utilize or maintain a bait station from Aug. 15-Feb. 1
  • Defines bait station as a place where grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, hay, minerals, and other natural food materials, commercial products containing natural food materials, or by-products of such materials placed or maintained as an attractant to big game animals for the purpose of hunting
  • Does not apply to normal environmental conditions or accepted land management activities
  • Commission proposed change as recommended

Wall Lake GPA Disposal

  • Commission asked to adopt resolution allowing GFP staff to proceed with disposal of Wall Lake Game Production Area property located 18 miles south of Miller in Hand County
  • The 80 acres is primarily a lake bottom and provides no wildlife habitat management opportunities and remote location presents public access challenges
  • Earlier effort to sell this property was challenged by local landowners, but through series of contacts all landowners have been notified and visited and no challenge to the sale has arisen
  • Commission adopted the resolution as presented by staff

Information items
Land acquisition

  • Zdenek Propery a 199 acre private holding in Bon Homme County as part of Tony Dean’s Acres public hunting property; farmland with trees, grassland, wetland and operated as a farm and gravel pits; two old gravel pits have a good bass fishery; cost $500,000; federal aid matched with Tony Dean’s Acres private donations for purchase, plus $40,000 from local conservation groups; purchase will be brought to Commission in July for final consideration

Hill Game Production Area follow-up

  • Hill Game Production Area in Fall River County – Crops are in the ground and second round of irrigation is being done; consultant is helping with plan; irrigating about 65 acres of cropland, capacity on another 30 acres that can put water on if necessary; considering moving toward a no-till operation; been looking at different options for irrigation system that is in place, labor intensive ditch system but it works, looking at some different options including pipe and center pivot; access trail to put visitors about a mile and a half farther into the property, may have road open during hunting season and closed during summer months to help limit traffic and maintain integrity of area

Big Horn Sheep follow-up

  • Staff has been exploring ideas for where potential is to expand the number of sheep herds in the state; will revise the bighorn sheep management plan; met with people interested in expanding sheep management in SD and shared some of the ideas GFP has; face hurdles in dealing with appropriate sheep habitat and especially the ongoing issues of disease in the sheep herds

Pheasant Lead Study update

  • Lead is a poison to all vertebrates; prior to federal ban on lead for waterfowl hunting in 1991 it was estimated 1.6 to 2.4 million waterfowl died annually, very susceptible and with hunting over water feeding areas; SD was one of first states to ban lead for waterfowl hunting
  • Two types of ingestion by birds – will think it is a seed and ingest directly, may pick up as grit, may consume accidentally from soil; raptors and scavengers may ingest secondarily from prey with lead in their system
  • Previous study on doves range from 2.4% of birds to 1% in system
  • Lead poison documented in pheasants in United Kingdom as early as 1876; 3% on another study in UK; few observations of fatalities in US
  • GFP began pilot study in Lyman County to determine lead shot availability and distribution at beginning and towards the end of the pheasant hunting season; determine ingestion rates (GI tract) beginning and towards the end of the season; study conducted on plot of land that is part of a commercial hunting operation and receives fairly hunting
  • Did soil samples from all the different land use types; skim off 1/3 inch of soil where lead most likely to be available to birds; took around 350 soil samples; had to run through a test sieve to sort out 8-shot or larger lead shot
  • Also collected sampling of hunter-harvested birds to test for lead shot in system; pull gizzards out of birds; put on tray to be x-rayed which does a very good job of differentiating between metal and anything else in gizzard
  • 41 of 338 samples had a least one lead pellet; ¾ of samples from trees had pellets
  • overall found 10,000 pellets/hectare but 78,000 pellets/hectare in trees
  • gizzards removed from 339 roosters; 12 had ingested lead (3.5%); 115 roosters collected from the study site, 8 ingested pellets (6.5%); most had 1-2 pellets, but one had ingested 9 pellets and was still alive
  • Plan to replicate study this fall on a couple of other study sites; may compare a commercial shooting area with intense hunting with an area where more normal hunting occurs; what are individual affects on birds; may do some dose response study and induce lead on sample birds to see effects

Deer, Turkey and Antelope License Allocation System

  • Commission has ability to authorize preference to landowners in drawing for regular full-price license, as well as authorize half-price licenses for landowner on their own land; and landowners allowed a free antlerless deer license for hunting on own land; all are available to SD residents only
  • Administrative Rules through Commission added definitions “for agricultural purposes” and define “operator” and “owner-operator”; landowner and tenant could not both claim 160 acres for landowner preference privileges; establish eligibility provisions for members to different legal entities
  • Landowner preference applies to big game seasons and is resident only; ½ of licenses set aside for landowners in a drawing and minimum acreage set at 160 acres; must own or lease land, and hunting leases do not qualify; intention is that preference apply specifically to people who are farmers and ranchers; land must be within the hunting unit; all family members are eligible; licenses are issued through the normal big game lottery drawing
  • Landowner Own-Land License authorized by statute for East River and West River deer and antelope hunting; may get a single tag or 2-tag license; same requirements must be met as for regular landowner preference; may only have 1 of these licenses and may not have another license that allows the taking of a buck; licenses are valid on operated wherever the season is open
  • Landowner Antlerless Deer Free License valid during East River Deer, Archery, Muzzleloader and Youth deer seasons; all family members are eligible to get these licenses but limited to two licenses issued per ranch/farm unit; valid on any property where the season is open; licenses not available in some areas depending on deer population and management objectives for those areas
  • Drawing Process for landowner preference in regular drawings: System is a weighted lottery; ensures that those with preference will be drawn before those without preference points but does not guarantee a license; 50% of all licenses in a unit are set aside for landowners; landowners who were unsuccessful in a previous year accrue preference for the following year; if all landowner licenses are not issued the remaining fall down to the drawing for non-landowners with preference, if all licenses are not used at this level the remaining licenses fall down to applicants with no preference

Asian Carp update

  • 4 different species nationwide, with silver and bighead the biggest threats in SD
  • Silver carp grow to 40 inches and 60 pounds; all over eastern part of the state, with bighead getting even larger
  • Research done in conjunction with SDSU; found in James River all through eastern SD into ND
  • Like a reproducing population of fish in many areas
  • Asian carp seen jumping in Falls Park in Sioux Falls
  • Study sites on Big Sioux, James and Vermillion rivers; in 2009 only 3 adults found on James River; in 2010 only 5 fish, both in James and Big Sioux; last year found 89 fish in much-expanded range and had also been found in ND
  • This week researchers reported hundreds of silver carp on lower James with fish readily jumping; on Vermillion river saw silver, bighead and grass carp
  • Barriers to range expansion are dams and large waterfall, but can expand by flooding, unintentional releases by anglers, and bait introductions and transfer
  • Once established populations explode; Illinois River commercial fishermen averaged 18 tons of fish annually and now average 12 tons per day, essentially that is all that is produced in the Illinois River
  • Bighead typically eat zooplankton which will deplete that part of the food web and directly affect paddlefish, juvenile walleye, and prey species such as gizzard shad and smelt; silver carp eat phyto-plankton and similarly disrupt the food web
  • Will continue to work on outreach and education efforts; determine need and effectiveness on barriers to combat expansion of Asian carp populations
  • Will be holding an emergency meeting of Commission to present rules for closure of bait transfer in a couple of areas

Miscellaneous updates

  • Elk Update: Unit 2 (Jewel Cave area) study had 30 calves on the ground and two were lion mortality; eight more cows waiting to calve; CSP has 27 calves collared with around 10 mortalities, 2 by coyote and 7 by mountain lion, trying to collar mountain lions and found one male responsible for three of the mortalities
  • Working a survey to explore pheasant bag limit in response to a draft bill last legislative session to purchase the chance to take a 4th and 5th pheasant as part of daily bag limit, funds from this would have been dedicated to access; gauge resident and nonresident hunters to see if there is any support and what level that support might be