abc
QUICK LINKS:

Commission Expects Large Drop in South Dakota Deer Tags

Updated: 04/29/2014 4:49 PM
Created: 04/29/2014 12:56 PM WDIO.com
By: NORA HERTEL, Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The number of South Dakota deer hunting licenses is expected to drop substantially this year due to habitat loss and a disease that thrives in dry weather, said Game, Fish and Parks Commission Chairman John Cooper.

The commission will review the license proposals at a meeting Thursday and Friday at Custer State Park. Cooper said the total number of tags proposed for the East River deer season is down by about 40 percent. West River tags will be down 56 percent.

"We've had a decrease in deer habitat across the state, especially in East River," Cooper said.

He said intensive agriculture and the conversion of wetland sloughs to crop land have contributed to the decrease in habitat. Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, which Cooper says is exacerbated by drought, has also depleted the deer population in the state. Cooper says the license numbers won't change too much for deer hunting in the Black Hills.

East River tags are proposed to drop from about 50,600 to 30,000. The region stretches from the Missouri River to the eastern border of the state and includes mostly white tail deer. West River tags are proposed to drop from about 45,000 to nearly 20,000. That region, which has mule and white tail deer, extends west of the river, excluding the Black Hills. Deer season ranges from late November to early December depending on the region and beginning in late December for antlerless deer.

Chris Hesla, executive director of the South Dakota Wildlife Federation, said the decrease in license numbers reflects the reality of using a natural resource.

"I'm probably surprised by the percentage of the drop, but not the trend of smaller numbers," Hesla said about the deer population. "We have been hunting the herd pretty hard."

He said farmers are not leaving a lot of idle acres and that's affected the pheasant population as well.

The Commission will also get an update on the pheasant season this week.

"We know that the harvest report on pheasants will be down," Cooper said, adding that it's been down for the last six or seven years.

The commission will also host a public hearing on a change to the state's hunting license policy Thursday at 2 p.m.

The proposed change would allow hunters to buy "preference points," giving them a higher priority in subsequent years when applying for limited licenses.

Cooper said other western states have similar systems, and he uses it in Colorado to increase his chances of getting a license every few years.

"It's a system that seems to work well in other places," Cooper said. "We're trying to simplify and allow people another option."

He said the commission has gotten good feedback so far on the proposed change. It will likely be used for big horn sheep, elk, mountain goats, deer and antelope.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Front Page

  • Proposal May Change Coverage For Hearing Device Used By Cloquet Baby

    A hearing system clipped to a pink headband is the only way a 10-month-old baby in Cloquet can hear. The device is currently covered by insurance, but Medicare is proposing to change its classification and coverage. The Dowell family is worried other insurance companies will follow.

  • Sheriff: Man Attacked Homeowner before Fatal Shooting

    Koochiching County Sheriff Brian Jespersen says a son who shot and killed an intruder was defending himself and his mother, who had been attacked by the man.

  • Update: Missing Hurley Man Found in Submerged Vehicle

    Police say the body of a Hurley man missing for nearly a month has been found inside his submerged vehicle. Duane R. Jussila, 74, was reported missing on July 5.  He had last been seen in Ironwood.

  • Former IRRRB Commissioner Gustafson Dies

    Jim Gustafson, who represented Duluth in the state Senate and headed the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board for seven years, died July 23 at the age of 75. During his tenure, Gustafson helped complete Giant's Ridge Golf Course, negotiated the Northwest Airlines ticket reservation center, and cut Ironworld's subsidy by $1 million.

  • Folks Getting Ready For Christmas in July

    It may be summer, but folks in Grand Rapids are getting ready for Christmas in July. Operation Christmas Child delivers shoe boxes full of goodies to kids around the world during the holidays. On Tuesday, people will get together at Grand Rapids Alliance Church to stuff shoe boxes and learn more about the project.

 
Advertisement