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GFP News - February 14, 2014

  • GFP Looks to Volunteer Hunters to Help Manage Resident Canada Geese
  • NASP Regional Archery Competition Set for Sioux Falls
  • James River Watershed CREP Enrollment Suspended Until Further Notice
  • Bald Eagle Awareness Week Feb. 17-22

GFP Looks to Volunteer Hunters to Help Manage Resident Canada Geese

PIERRE, S.D. -The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department (GFP) is looking for volunteers to assist with the harvest of resident Canada geese during the month of April on specific private lands in eastern South Dakota. 
GFP will utilize 280 volunteers, which will be permitted by GFP and under the authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to harvest resident Canada geese during the spring of 2014 on areas with a history of chronic crop damage.

"Each year we implement a number of crop damage abatement techniques throughout eastern South Dakota," said Keith Fisk, SDGFP's wildlife damage program administrator. "The GFP Commission has also taken steps to reduce resident Canada goose populations by offering additional hunting opportunities in August and September."

Resident Canada goose numbers in South Dakota have far exceeded management goals. During the spring of 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated a spring population index of more than 240,000 resident Canada geese in South Dakota. 

"Our management plan sets the population objective at an index of 80,000 to 90,000 resident Canada geese," Fisk said. "As a result of this overabundance, Game, Fish and Parks has spent more than $4.5 million, since the year 2000, in an effort to reduce or alleviate crop damage. In its continued effort to minimize crop damage, GFP will again conduct management activities this spring."

Volunteers will be randomly selected and be provided a list of open areas on private lands. Pass shooting will be allowed but the use of decoys, calls and blinds will be prohibited under this U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit. Volunteers may register Feb. 19 through March 6, with the harvest beginning April 1, 2014. Harvested Canada geese will be donated to the Sportsmen Against Hunger program and distributed to needy families across South Dakota.

"Until this population reaches a more manageable level, GFP will continue to take proactive approaches to reduce crop damage caused by resident Canada geese," said Fisk.

Interested volunteers can register for the opportunity to participate at http://gfp.sd.gov/agency/contacts/contact-wildlife-offices.aspx. Volunteers will need to login and select "Spring Canada Goose Program" and then choose the geographic area where they would be willing to participate. No license is required to participate.

For more information, volunteers may contact their local GFP Division of Wildlife office. Contact information can be found at http://gfp.sd.gov/agency/contacts/contact-wildlife-offices.aspx

NASP Regional Archery Competition Set for Sioux Falls

Pierre S.D. - Young people from across South Dakota will have a chance to show off their archery skills at the Sioux Falls Regional National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2. The Tournament will be held at the Minnehaha Archers Indoor Archery facility in Sioux Falls.

This tournament, sponsored by Minnehaha Archers and South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, will run from 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, until 4 p.m. The tournament will resume at 8 a.m. on Sunday, March 2 until 3 p.m. Trophies will be awarded after the competition has ended. There is a $10 entry fee per participant.

All students who have participated in NASP at a school with a certified instructor are eligible for the tournament. Student archers are encouraged to bring their own bows. The only bow allowed in NASP competition is the Genesis Bow, without modification. Genesis mini's and Pro style bows are ineligible for NASP competition. All other state NASP rules apply.

There is no pre-registration required for this regional tournament. Participants will be assigned shooting lanes upon their arrival. More information can be found at the Minnehaha Archers website at Minnehaha-archers.com. For questions, contact Tom at Tomanne2@sio.midco.net. To get to the Minnehaha Archery facility, take exit 83 off I-29 just north of Sioux Falls. Go west over the bridge and take the first right on Harvestore Road. The facility is the third building on the east side of the road.

James River Watershed CREP Enrollment Suspended Until Further Notice

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced today that enrollment of new acres into the James River Watershed Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) has been suspended.  Additional contracts will not be accepted because current contracts have consumed all available funding from the state of South Dakota for this program.

With 82,173 acres of high quality wildlife habitat currently enrolled, CREP has proven to be a popular program.

"This program is extremely popular with both hunters and landowners," said Tony Leif, GFP Wildlife Division director.  "The enrollments we have are a testament to the successful partnership between the state and federal governments and between landowners and hunters."

Although the acceptance of new acres for the James River CREP has ceased, currently enrolled acres will not be impacted. 

"Our agency is fully committed to fulfilling the existing CREP contract obligations," noted Leif. 

With recent passage of a new farm bill and reauthorization of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), South Dakota landowners will still have future opportunities to enroll land in CRP.

"We are encouraged with the passing of a new farm bill and the conservation opportunities that will again be available for interested landowners," said Leif.  "We will continue to work with landowners and our conservation partners to maximize those program opportunities once the farm bill is implemented."

Bald Eagle Awareness Week Feb. 17-22

PIERRE, S.D. - Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed February 17-22, 2014, as Bald Eagle Awareness Week in South Dakota to emphasize the need for conservation and appreciation of bald eagles and other birds of prey. In honor of the 22nd Bald Eagle Awareness Day, interested persons will have several free events to choose from to learn more about birds of prey.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, The Outdoor Campus-East in Sioux Falls will have a program at 6:30 p.m. featuring live birds of prey presented by educators from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

On Saturday, Feb. 22, educators from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota will present programs featuring live birds of prey at the Pierre Ramkota in Theatre II, in conjunction with the KCCR Farm, Home and Sports Show. Pierre Ramkota programs begin at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. CST.

In addition, SDGFP's Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City will host a raptor-themed open house on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Bald Eagle Awareness Days activities will also feature presentations on Friday, Feb. 21, for students in Lower Brule. Winners of the Bald Eagle Awareness Days Bookmark Art Contest will be announced and winning entries displayed at the Ramkota Inn on Feb. 22.

The annual event is a joint effort sponsored by conservation and outdoor recreation organizations, and merchants and conservation agencies to increase public involvement and awareness about bald eagles and other birds of prey. People of all ages are encouraged to attend.

For more information about Bald Eagle Awareness Days, visit http://gfp.sd.gov/outdoor-learning/bald-eagle-awareness-days/default.aspx or contact Eileen Dowd Stukel with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks at 605.773.4229.

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