Commission meeting archives


october 2012 Commission Meeting

October 4-5, 2012


Division of Administration

Action Items
Approve minutes of the August 2-3, 2012, meeting
Additional Commissioner Salary Days
License List Requests

  • Rocky Knoll Cabins, Brenda Hellwig of Custer, for list of 200-300 Custer area turkey, deer and elk hunters to promote lodging and accommodations; full fee request; approved
  • South Dakota Waterfowl Association, Brookings, for list of resident waterfowl hunters to request membership in their organization; requesting exception to the fee status for this list; approved
  • SD Wildlife Federation for list of 30,000 2012 West and East River deer and antelope license holders to sell gun tickets and recruit membership; approved

2013 Meeting Schedule

  • January 10-11, Ft. Pierre AmericInn
  • March 7-8, Ft. Pierre AmericInn
  • April 4-5, Winner Holiday Inn Express
  • May 2-3, CSP Creekside Lodge
  • June 6-7, Pierre Capitol Visitor’s Center
  • July 8-9, Pierre Ramkota
  • August 1-2, Watertown Event Center
  • October 3-4, Spearfish Holiday Inn Express
  • November 7-8, Pierre Ramkota
  • December 5-6, Pierre Ramkota

Governor's office RFP

  • Comments were consistent with what was heard leading up to this proposal for an independent review
  • 96 written comments
  • generally supportive of conducting this review with a large number of issues mentioned, the dominant issues dealt with big game management with elk population and mountain lion numbers, as well as Black Hills Deer and antelope license numbers
  • Only six written comments from landowners, 4 specifically critical of GFP management
  • Comments from citizen not clearly sportsmen or landowners included too many mountain lions (7) and protecting mountain lions (5)
  • 26 employees and some former employees also commented
  • scope of project for Request for Proposal (RFP) will be kept within the scope of the most prevalent comments
  • draft proposal is available on GFP website as part of the package of all Commission meeting materials
  • Contractor will identify strengths and weaknesses, in particular looking at big game management, development of big game seasons and license numbers; exam budgets; exam public opinion and harvest surveys and reports
  • Timeline 4-6 weeks to go through RFP process and get proposals by December to present to Commission, Governor’s office will select contractor at that point and shortly after beginning of the year move forward with this process

Information items
License Sales Report

  • Sale of general hunting and fishing licenses remain 10.6% above same time period in 2011
  • Fishing license sales are nearing the end for the season and show a marked increase from a year ago: Resident Annual up 18.2% and Nonresident Annual up 37.3%
  • SD Bonding Authority 

Public Hearing at 2 PM

  • Approximately two hours of testimony was presented by approximately 50  individuals on the topics of the Mountain Lion season proposal and the Auction of a Bighorn Sheep Tag proposal

Open Forum

  • Dale Whittington spoke to the Commission on a planned shooting range for Hot Springs
  • Feel they can utilize local volunteers to build range and keep costs at a minimum with use of federal grant money
  • Will be open to the public with no gate and provide a safe place to shoot
  • Envision having trap, skeet and sporting clays all in one spot
  • Will be a major improvement for the area because there is nothing like this current available
  • Want to have involvement on control who is there and yet accessible to the public
  • Wants to work with GFP and hopes GFP will work with us
  • Nancy Hilding spoke on video conference capability for meetings and in the future Commission meetings video conference to at least three points in the state; give chance for public to comment and not have travel and motels to worry about

Emergency Rule

  • GFP staff has been closely monitoring the EHD deer die-off that has been taking place over the past several weeks; it was experienced last year but this year has been more substantial
  • This is an outbreak of animal disease characterized by rapid spread over a wide area; includes profuse bleeding from ruptured blood vessels; spread by a virus that is spread by a tiny biting midge (also known as sand gnats, sand flies and no-see-um
  • Three forms: Peracute kills deer within a couple of hours; Acute form deer die within 2-3 days; and Chronic where disease symptoms can persist for several weeks before death
  • Often found near water source because trying to quench thirst from fever
  • Usually affects white-tails but may affect mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk and pronghorn antelope
  • Most important disease of white-tailed deer in the U.S.; also seen in WY, NE, IA, and Midwest in general; ND and MN have escaped so far
  • Around 1,300 deer reported dead from EHD in SD in 2011; so far nearly 2,800 in SD this year; deer die-off in Region 2 similar in 2011 and 2012, but far more in southeast part of State of South Dakota
  • No wildlife management tools to control disease, no vaccines, usually takes a good hard frost to kill the midge and bring an end to the current disease cycle
  • Repeated outbreaks typically do not limit deer population growth; disease not directly linked to deer density, more to do with environmental factors that favor the biting midge
  • Have curtailed leftover licenses in some west river units already, and offered refunds to anyone who has a deer license for any season (390 have been returned so far)
  • There is concern among staff and local citizens in some southeastern counties about the volume of the deer die-off; reports may be fairly localized, and intense in some areas and less a few miles away
  • Unsold licenses are antlerless; second drawing deadline for east river deer season Oct. 5 and drawing will be held later next week
  • Asking Commission to consider an emergency rule to remove unsold licenses before the second drawing takes place, currently Secretary has authority to remove licenses only AFTER the second drawing is complete; have given notice to hunters applying for licenses that these actions would be considered
  • Commission approved the emergency rule


Mountain Lion Hunting Season

  • Held an open house in Rapid City for discussion a few weeks ago and had around 120 attend
  • Population estimate Jan. 1, 2012 was 300 adults; with last hunting season going into the next year the estimate is at 240
  • At proposed level of 100 harvest limit for the next hunting season, it is estimated the resulting population would be around 180 at beginning of 2014; population goal is for 175-180 range
  • Recommended change to increase harvest limit from 70 to 100 with increase in female sub-limit from 50 to 70; season start date changes from Jan. 1 to Dec. 26; any licensed hunter may hunt mountain lions outside the Black Hills Fire Protection District from Jan. 1-Dec. 31; Some access controlled hunting with hounds would be allowed in CSP
  • Two recommended changes from proposal for Commission to consider are: Hunter and houndspersons are not allowed to release dogs on tracks indicating multiple mountain lions traveling together; and hunters using dogs must attempt to harvest the first legal mountain lion that they have reasonable opportunity to harvest, except under the condition where the lion pursued shows obvious signs of lactation
  • Commission moved to amend the proposal with the two recommended items above; this was approved 8-0
  • Commission then moved approval of the proposal as amended; this was approved 8-0

Bighorn Sheep Auction Tag

  • Proposal to set aside one bighorn sheep hunting license if a minimum of 3 licenses are available outside of Custer State Park for auction through a nonprofit organization as a fund raiser for bighorn sheep management
  • Open to both South Dakota residents and nonresidents; a person who previously held a license is not eligible
  • Recommended changes from proposal include: Staff recommends add language stating the Commission will determine which unit(s) the auction license will be valid; the Bighorn Sheep Working Group recommends that an auction license will be made available if a minimum of 3 licenses are allocated, including inside CSP, with the third license designed for auction; the auction tag hunter can hunt anywhere a unit with at least one resident tag is allocated; allow an individual who previously held a bighorn sheep license, either by lottery drawing or by auction, to purchase a subsequent auction license
  • Commission moved to recommended changes to proposal to include allowing Commission to determine unit(s) where valid, auction based on minimum 3 licenses including CSP, and allowing individuals who previously had license
  • Amendments approved and proposal then approved as amended
Division of Parks and Recreation

Action items
Park Entrance License Fee Proposal

  • Raise fee for Annual Park Entrance from $28 to $30
  • Raise fee for second Park Entrance from $14 to $15
  • Raise fee for Transferable Park Entrance from $60 to $65
  • Raise fee for daily admission to Fort Sisseton Festival from $4 to $5 for those 12 and older
  • Revenue from annual park entrance licenses and other user fees help offset the cost of operating and maintaining the state park system. The division’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request includes nearly $100,000 to cover increasing utility costs due to rate increases and $244,000 to increase the hourly wage rate of over 400 seasonal employees that represent the corpus of our summer work force. The $2 increase in the annual park entrance license and the $5 increase in the transferrable license will generate approximately $157,000. The annual Fort Sisseton Festival is held the first weekend of June. The admission fee, along with vendor and participant fees help offset the cost of the event. The $1 increase is needed to keep up with the cost of hosting the event and will generate approximately $3,500.
  • Approved for proposal as recommended

Camping and Lodge Fees Proposal

  • Add South Scalp Creek, Walth Bay and White Swan Lakeside use areas to the list of areas that require a basic campground fee
  • South Scalp Creek, Walth Bay, and White Swan lakeside use areas offer the amenities and level of service to campers as the other areas where the basic campground fee is charged. Revenue from the camping fee will generate an estimated $5,500 annually and help offset the maintenance and operating costs of the areas.
  • Increase the daily group lodge fee at Shadehill, Lake Thompson, Palisades and Newton Hills
  • Group lodges at Shadehill and Lake Thompson Recreation Areas and Newton Hills and Palisades State Parks are extremely popular and receive heavy use year-round. The proposed rate increases will generate approximately $13,000 and will help offset rising utility and other operating costs impacting the state park system and make the price more comparable to other similar lodging offered in the state.
  • Approved for proposal as recommended

Camper Unit Definition Proposal

  • Repeals rule 41:03:04:09 limiting camper units to two per site and makes the provision no more than one camper unit may occupy a designated campsite. A camper unit is defined as a hard-sided camper and/or one or more tents if all occupants meet the definition of “family” or do not exceed six people. Also repeal related rule 41:03:04:10.01
  • The park manager may allow up to a maximum of two camper units, not to exceed 12 people, to occupy or "double-up" on select campsites based on the suitability of the site and the load on campground facilities/infrastructure. In these cases, a fee of two times the daily camping fee will be charged.
  • Basically this will increase the maximum number of people on a campsite from 10 to 12
  • Approved for proposal as recommended

Custer State Park Cabin Transfer

  • Commission approved a resolution authorizing Parks Division to allow the transfer of a cabin permit from Jack Harris to Guy and Karin Burdick of Brookings

Land, Water, and Conservation Fund Grants

  • Commission endorsed those projects selected through a rating process used by staff, and these will now be taken to the Governor for approval
  • Brandon Aspen Park land acquisition - $50,000
  • Dell Rapids city park playground project - $38,000
  • Lennox pool and bathhouse improvements - $46,000
  • Pierre Fourth Street Park and Playground - $24,000
  • Sturgis Starline Park - $28,000
  • Groton park equipment replacement - $12,000
  • Gregory Memorial Sports Park playground project - $27,000
  • Brookings Valley View Park development - $45,000
  • Gettysburg Little Angels playground improvements - $20,000
  • Box Elder playground equipment safety remediation - $50,000
  • Beresford Burlow Park playground equipment - $18,310
  • The following Recreation Trails Program projects also receive federal grants and have been approved
  • USFS-BHNF OHV trail implementation - $187,059
  • GFP replacement snowmobile trail groomers - $264,000
  • GFP snowmobile trail re-routes - $23,891
  • GFP Mickelson Trail maintenance and operation - $106,800
  • GFP LaFramboise Island trailhead repair - $60,000
  • GFP Blood Run trail development - $240,000
  • Watertown Big Sioux Recreational Trail reconstruction - $65,000
  • Custer Big Rock Lookout phase 2 - $80,000
  • Aberdeen Baird Park Recreational Trail phase 2 - $125,600
  • Deadwood Mickelson trailhead - $45,000
  • Dell Rapids Ace Park Dells Scenic Hiking Trail - $21,940
  • Lake County public access recreational trail - $72,100
  • Belle Fourche Riverwalk/Hay Creek to Pine Street - $51,130
  • Murdo City Park shared use path - $177,848
  • Winner phase 1 McDonald Park Trail development - $62,799

Information items
Visitation and Revenue Report

  • Revenue up 12.8% over same time period in 2011; Visitation up 13.4%; Camper Units up 14.7%

Custer State Park Resort Preventative Maintenance Projects

  • Lease in place for CSP Resort has to items reviewed annually – repair and maintenance fund and projects, and personal property replacement program; Resort Company has more than met their requirements and are over on most expenditures for improvements
  • 2012 projects completed include sidewalk update at Game Lodge; Schoolhouse exterior remodel to look like surrounding buildings; tongue and groove with beetle-kill wood to give cabin feel to rooms in Lodge; as well as boiler repairs and some other unexpected issues
  • Legion Lake rebuild boat house
  • Re-chinking of Blue Bell Cabins
  • Sylvan Lake repaint the store; tore out Formica counter tops in cabins and replace with granite; re-roofing cabins; landscaping around front of lodge
  • 2012 Personal Property Replacement include all of old Jeep Wagoneers; replace kitchen equipment; State Game Lodge Pavilion kitchen
  • Proposed projects for 2013 include $115,000 for State Game Lodge includes remodel of office building; $310,000 for Sylvan Lake Lodge includes rebuild of Veranda; and $100,000 for Resort Emergency Fund
  • Still projects that will need to be planned, but the list is getting smaller

Angostura Update

  • There is a management agreement with the Bureau Of Reclamation; one in place was set to expire in 9 years and need longer agreement since most leases are for 10 years; terminated old agreement and entered into a new 25-year agreement
  • Developing cost estimates for three options to handle waste water issue with trailers; cost estimates are due on Oct. 19 and will then issue letter to trailer owners on findings; will fund through bonding at next legislative session; will require earnest money and a commitment from the trailer owners; will also be developing new standards for trailer owners which have been shared for comment with trailer owners
  • Have advertised prospectus for new concessionaire; have had limited interest; plan to bring to Commission finalization of a new concessionaire in December
Division of Wildlife

Action items
Fishing Regulations Proposals

  • SPRING CLOSURES: Proposal would delete these streams and creeks from the spring fishing closure list: all creeks in Codington County except those associated with Punished Woman and Round Lakes; the outlet stream from Lake Poinsett; all creeks in Grant County; creeks in Roberts County below White Rock Dam on Bois de Sioux River and below Reservation Dam gates on Lake Traverse
  • SPECIAL MANAGEMENT WATERS: Proposal would remove “River upstream from Shadehill Dam” from subsection (1); Change the county designation for Richland Dam from Jerauld to Jones and Curlew Lake  from Pennington to Meade in subsection (2); Remove subsection (4), “In Patten Dam in Aurora County, the daily trout limit is 2”; Add subsection (14) (13 if subsection 4 is removed) stating “In Lake Oahe, the daily limit for walleye, sauger, walleye-sauger hybrids, or combination thereof is 8 and of the walleye taken daily no more than four may be 15 inches or greater in length, possession limit is 24;” APPROVED FOR PROPOSAL AS RECOMMENDED
  • PADDLEFISH: Proposal would remove transportation restrictions on paddlefish harvested during the May season on Lake Francis Case where there are no length limits; APPROVED FOR PROPOSAL AS RECOMMENDED
  • SPEARING: Proposal would modify areas open to spearing game fish by allowing northern pike spearing on inland waters statewide; changing spearing end dates for inland waters to March 15; and include text regarding year-round take of catfish on Missouri River reservoir system; APPROVED FOR PROPOSAL AS RECOMMENDED
  • HOOP NETS/SETLINES: Lengthen season from May 1 through October 31 to year-round for all South Dakota inland waters open to hoop net or set line use; Expand areas on the mainstem Missouri River system open to use of hoop nets and setlines to the entire length of the river and reservoirs from the NE/SD state line to the ND/SD state line; Standardize the number of set lines that can be used in any water where allowed in South Dakota at six; Extend the areas of western tributaries open to use of setlines to the entire length of the tributary within South Dakota; Add Angostura, Belle Fourche, and Shadehill reservoirs to the list of waters open to use of setlines; Prohibit use of whole baitfish as bait for setlines; APPROVED FOR PROPOSAL AS RECOMMENDED

Bait Fish Proposals

  • Proposal would change rule title from “Waters open to taking bait” to “Waters closed to taking of bait” and close the following waters: Creeks, streams or rivers, permanent or temporary in Aurora, Beadle, Brown, Bon Homme, Clay, Davison, Edmunds, Faulk, Hand, Hanson, Hutchinson, Jerauld, Lincoln, McCook, McPherson, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Sanborn, Spink, Turner, Union, Yankton counties and the Black Hills Trout Management area as defined in 41:07:01:01; and Brookings County – Interstate, Butte County – Newell, Deuel County – Alice, Edmunds County – Mina, Pennington County – Pactola and Sheridan
  • Modify: the list of Waters closed year-round to commercial taking of bait to add  Bennett County – Little White River; Brookings County – Twin (east of Hwy. 81), Brush, Nature Park East, Nature Park West, Nelson GPA; Brule County – Wanalain, Sixteen; Codington County – 3rd Avenue Pond; Corson County – Trail City: Day – Lynn, Opitz: Dewey County – Lantry, Little Moreau #3, Moreau River; Fall River County – Cottonwood, Hyde County – Mission (Boehm); Jones County – Okaton, Draper, All Ft. Pierre Nat’l Grassland ponds Bad River, White River; Lake County – Herman State Park Pond; Lawrence County - Mirror #1 & #2, Strawberry Hill; Lincoln County – Rollings GPA Pond; Lyman County - All Ft. Pierre Nat’l Grassland ponds, Byre, White River; Marshall County – Cattail/Kettle: McCook County – Island; McPherson County – Eureka, Leola; Mellette County – White River, Little White River; Minnehaha County – Loss, Island, Scott, Twin; Pennington County – Sunday Gulch Pond; Spink County – Redfield; Stanley County -  All Ft. Pierre Nat’l Grassland ponds, Bad River; Tripp County – White River, Keya Paha River.
  • Modify the list of Waters closed year-round to commercial taking of bait to remove Bon Homme County – Missouri River; Brookings County – Interstate Lake; Butte County – Newell; Campbell County – Chester, Corson County – Tetanka; Custer County – All trout streams; Deuel County – Alice; Dewey County – Adams, Dewberry; Edmunds County – Bowdle/Hosmer, Loyalton, Mina; Fall River County – All trout streams; Grant County – Blue Cloud Abby; Hyde County – Chappelle, Quirk; Jones County – National Grasslands Dams; Kingsbury County – Iroquois; Lawrence County – All trout streams; McPherson County - Eureka #1, Eureka #2, Wolff; Mellette County - Blackpipe, Diess, Rohloff; Pennington County – Pactola, Sheridan, All trout streams, Spink County – Dudley Mirage, Bierman.
    - The above changes are to aid in preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species from water where they occur to other waters of the state and to update the list of waters closed to the year-round commercial taking of bait to add waters which are managed for game fish population and to remove those which are no longer managed for game fish.
  • Modify 41:09:04:04 “Seines, net, and traps limited.” to clarify that  permission to use seines, nets, and traps larger than those specified may be issued by the department in association with the department’s approval to stock public waters with white suckers for rearing and harvest.
    - Current equipment restrictions for equipment used to trap or catch bait species are in place to minimize by-catch of game fish species and waterfowl. White suckers are a desirable bait species to raise in South Dakota but they must be stocked as young fish and then harvested in the fall using nets, traps, and seines with larger net openings or mesh than would be used for standard bait trapping activities.  This change in rule ties permission to use larger equipment to approval from the department to stock a water with white suckers, allowing bait dealers a legal means of harvesting their fish.
  • Modify 41:09:04:12 “Transportation of other fish by bait dealer.” change rule title to: “Transportation of bait and other fish by bait dealer” and add the sentence “Transportation equipment shall allow for inspection of bait and other fish at all times”.
    - This rule modification would clarify that when a bait dealer also holds a private hatchery license that the rule applies to all fish species and adds the language which was contained in 41:09:04:11 that the equipment must allow for inspection of all fish being transported at all times.
  • Modify 41:09:04:16 “Records Required.” to add the words “or electronically in a format approved by the Department”.
    - This change would allow bait dealers to keep records required in an electronic format instead of on paper forms provided by the Department if they chose to do so. This modification was requested by bait dealers and discussed with them at meetings conducted in March and September of 2012. It would allow bait dealers to use their existing spreadsheets or data bases or create new ones to meet reporting requirements, once file formats are approved by the department.


  • Proposal would clarify rule wording and not change intent of law for fishing turtles; add the word “legal” before spears and specify turtle traps as defined in 41:07:10:03; and add the words “any species of” and remove reference to 41:09:04:02.02 that defined turtles as biological specimens and has been repealed; APPROVED FOR PROPOSAL AS RECOMMENDED

Aquatic Nuisance Species Proposals

  • Proposal would modify rule by adding the following species to aquatic nuisance species list: Western Mosquitofish, Purple Loosestrife, Flowering Rush, and Red Rimmed Melania
  • Proposal would separate watercraft restrictions into two rules: 41:10:04:03 “Watercraft restrictions” No person may launch or attempt to launch a boat, motorboat, or boat trailer of any kind into the waters of the state with an aquatic nuisance species attached or onboard.  Law enforcement officers may require the removal of aquatic vegetation from boats, motors, trailers and associated equipment; and
  • 41:10:04:04 “Watercraft inspections” Any boat, motorboat, or boat trailer is subject to inspection by a department representative. If an aquatic nuisance species is found during inspection, a department approved decontamination process, specific to the aquatic nuisance species present, shall be required prior to launching.
  • Separation and additional language to this section will allow law enforcement officers to address non-compliance with individuals that refuse to remove aquatic vegetation from boats and trailers. Changes will allow for more flexibility in decontamination efforts by department staff.

Fisheries Rules Reduction Proposals

  • Repeal: Artificial lights 41:07:01:06. A person may use artificial lights while fishing with legal methods

 - Rule is unnecessary. Without rule it is implied that artificial lights may be used while fishing with legal methods.

  • Repeal: Possession limit for one-day license 41:07:03:04. A one-day fishing license entitles the licensee to possess no more than one day's limit of fish

 - There is no need to specify a possession limit for a one-day license as they are issued from midnight to midnight. It is implied by the duration of the license that they may not possess more than a one-day limit.

  • Repeal: Season and areas open to taking of catfish without limit – Exception 41:07:06:05. Legal spearguns, legal spears, and bows and arrows may be used in the taking of catfish during the hours between sunrise and sunset from January 1 to December 31, inclusive, without limit for noncommercial purposes in Lake Oahe from Oahe Dam upstream to the South Dakota - North Dakota boundary, Lake Sharpe from Big Bend Dam upstream to the U. S. Highway 14 bridge, and Lake Francis Case from Fort Randall Dam upstream to the Brule - Buffalo County line. In Lake Lewis and Clark from Gavin's Point Dam upstream to the Nebraska - South Dakota boundary where the river is entirely within South Dakota, catfish may be taken only within the limits established in § 41:07:03:02.01      – Much of the text of this rule is repetitious of language in 41:07:06:03. Areas open to spearing of game fish. Additionally, 41:07:03:03 Daily, possession, and length limit restrictions on special management waters, already states catfish may be taken without limit from the inland waters of the Missouri River system and it’s impoundments. Language related to season dates would be transferred to 41:07:06:03. Areas open to spearing of game fish.
  • Repeal: Minimum length of catfish 41:07:08:03.  Any catfish less than 12 inches total length taken by a hoop net, trap, or setline shall be returned immediately to the water from which the catfish was taken, except in the SD-NE boundary waters where the minimum length is 15 inches for catfish caught on a setline

 - Rule is unnecessary. Catfish are an underutilized species throughout the Missouri River system and western tributaries in South Dakota. Setlines allow anglers an additional opportunity to harvest catfish and the use of a minimum length limit to regulate harvest is contradictory to the management objective.

  • Repeal: Baitfish prohibited 41:07:08:05.01.  In the Missouri River and its impoundments from Fort Randall Dam to the North Dakota state line, only prepared or, cut bait, worms, crayfish, and leopard frogs may be used on tagged setlines. Whole baitfish are prohibited on setlines in the state, except in the Missouri River downstream from Fort Randall Dam

 - Specific stipulations of legal setline bait on the mainstem waters of the Missouri River are no longer needed, with the exception that whole baitfish should be prohibited. Text referring to the prohibition of whole baitfish as setline bait will be included in 41:07:08:06 “Areas and restriction on the use of hoop nets, traps, and setlines. Repealing this rule will help standardize available bait options for the mainstem Missouri River with western tributaries and reservoirs.

  • Repeal: Transportation by dealers -- Inspection. 41:09:04:11. A bait dealer may not transport bait in water over 60 degrees Fahrenheit except in a container provided with aerating equipment that maintains sufficient dissolved oxygen in the water at all times to keep the bait in good condition whether or not the vehicle is in motion. Transportation equipment shall allow for inspection of bait at all times

 - This rule specifies conditions for water quality parameters in transport tanks when hauling bait and language that requires transportation equipment to allow for inspection. The rule is not necessary and the inspection language will be added to 41:09:04:12


License Fees Proposal

  • Small Game from $110 to $120
  • Annual Shooting Preserve from $85 to $95
  • 1-Day Shooting Preserve from $35 to $40
  • 5-Day Shooting Preserve from $65 to $70
  • 10-Day Waterfowl from $110 to $120
  • 3-Day Waterfowl from $75 to $85
  • Fee adjustments for 2013 would raise an estimated $1.06 million in revenue
  • Cost index has risen considerably since the last fee increase, in addition spending more on depredation, especially Canada goose depredation; costs have been offset by strong Nonresident Small Game license sales the past several years and recently some cost-cutting measures in operations and have trimmed the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, but have also needed to expand on public access programs on private land, some new boat ramps, and continued habitat development on GFP property
  • Estimated shortage of approximately $1 million in revenue and this recommendation would address that shortage
  • Commission considered eliminating the Annual Shooting Preserve Annual license and recognize the proposed $120 Nonresident Annual Small Game License as the license that will serve as the annual license on shooting preserves or charge the same for an Annual Shooting Preserve as Nonresident Small Game License, then raise the 1-Day shooting preserve license to $45 and the 5-Day shooting preserve license to $75
  • Commission proposed changes to include Nonresident Small Game $110-120; Annual Shooting Preserve $85-120; 1-Day Shooting Preserve $35-45; 5-Day Shooting Preserve $65-75; 10-Day Waterfowl $110-120; 3-Day Waterfowl $75-85
  • Passed on roll call vote 7-1
  • Commissioner Spies asked to consider a proposal to raise Resident Combination $49-52 and Resident Small Game licenses $29-32, each by $3 for 2013
  • The motion failed by a 2-5 vote

Hill Ranch GPA Inholding Acquisition

  • Commission adopted a resolution authorizing Division of Wildlife to purchase property located 7 miles south of Hot Springs on Shep’s Canyon Road; 52.11 acres on south unit of Hill Ranch Game Production Area; will be used for wildlife production, public hunting, and improved access opportunities to the existing Hill Ranch GPA and establish a group lodge facility for the Shep’s Canyon Outdoor Recreation Complex
  • Cost $378,560

Information items
HuntSAFE Instructor of the Year

  • The Belle Fourche team was named team of the year and Pete Krush and instructor of the year were honored by local conservation officer Bill Eastman
  • Pete will be stepping aside from full involvement but will still be involved in the program
  • Team also includes Chuck Berdan, Rick Walton, Kevin Burke, Richard Sprewell

Hot Springs shooting range

  • There was a land trade with a GPA to create a suitable and safe site for a shooting range; access is in place; working with adjacent landowner to line out fencing strategy; crew is surveying land for elevations and other safety considerations
  • The process requires inspections and permitting before range development can begin
  • Traditionally GFP works with clubs that have ownership or long term lease of the land, GFP matches funds with club to make improvements, club must provide reasonable public access to account for funding involved
  • This project involves development of a new shooting range that involved trade of a GPA and partnership to build the range facility
  • Now trying to define what reasonable public access to the shooting range will be; have come to a general consensus on some of the details and currently working with the club to make sure the measures are appropriate
  • The club’s original design and cost estimate was far short of what engineers estimated it would be
  • Will work with the club to iron out details for how development and operation of the range will proceed

Lake Oahe fishery update

  • Gathered through Aug-Sep surveys on the reservoir
  • Angling pressure was above average around 1.2 million hours, but not as high as the last 1990s
  • Catch rate set a new record, around 1.6 walleye per person per hour (.5 fish per hour is generally considered pretty good)
  • Walleye caught was estimated at just under 4 million; walleye harvested was just under the record set in 2001 when there was a 14 fish limit, up to date 1.15 million in the past 2 years
  • Angler satisfaction the past two years were the two highest ever
  • The relative abundance of walleye showed a very high number of 10-15 inch fish as a result of high water levels in the reservoir since 2009; the past two years have shown two of the highest relative abundance levels on record
  • There has been concern about “skinny” walleye post-flood; fish over 20 inches have shown a diminished condition, in addition the 10-15 inch fish have shown a slow drop and this seems unrelated to the drop in rainbow smelt numbers, may be a factor of so many walleye competing for food
  • Rainbow smelt spawn that was hoped for did not occur this year; it does not take many adults to generate a successful spawn
  • Likewise other prey fish (shiners, white bass, gizzard shad, yellow perch) were also reduced
  • Outlook: should continue to see high catch rates, especially of smaller fish; larger fish will continue lower condition; prey fish numbers will remain low and need right conditions for a successful 2013 spawn
  • Recommendation from staff: goal is to provide maximum opportunity for anglers, not to thin population of fish; remove 1-over-20” regulation and provide anglers the opportunity to harvest larger fish that might soon be lost from the system; increase bag limit to 8 daily with 4 over 15” and provide opportunity to harvest smaller fish and take advantage of the high abundance of walleye; increase possession limit to 24 walleye to allow catch and harvest of a 3-day limit on Oahe

Bighorn sheep plan

  • Plan focuses on hands-on management of bighorn, and in particular dealing with the die-off from pneumonia
  • Will continue to work with state, federal and private land partners
  • Will get complete inventory of where domestic sheep are in the Black Hills in relation to bighorn sheep herds
  • Develop additional programs and augment some that are already in place including fencing
  • Habitat will be a big part of plan, both where we have herds now and potential new areas where habitat exists and may be further developed; two new potential areas include by Deadwood and in the Angostura area
  • Have started work on securing sheep for the future so when situation is right can bring sheep in
  • Continue to do extensive work in survey and monitoring of the bighorn population; research what needs are; continue to work with private landowners

Elk study report

  • Began study in 2011 to investigate cow/calf survival
  • Study verified poor recruitment
  • Captured another 41 cow elk in 2012 to continue study; have seen incredible movement of elk, including into and out of park
  • 37 cow elk now collared; pregnancy rate 95% compared to 85% last year; currently radio-collared 37 calf elk
  • Results 14 mortality from lion depredation, 2 coyote, and 2 came off on barbed wire, 18 collars still active
  • Last year calf survival 29% through Sept. 30 this year 38%; mortality to lions was 70% and this year 55%; ratio of lion depredation last year 57% and 43% outside of Park; this year 71% inside Park and 29% outside of the Park
  • Overall calf survival has improved
  • Calf/cow ration 29% best since 2006 in CSP compared to 13% last year; bull/cow ration 33% which is an increase
  • Companion study to this project with SDSU shows 6 calves lost to lions and 17 collars lost from elk
  • Ratio 48 calves per 100 cows and last year was 53, this number has been fairly consistent for several years