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GFP Commission Unanimously Passes Deer License Allocation Proposal

PIERRE, S.D. – Earlier today, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission unanimously passed the deer license allocation proposal that would allow a hunter to apply for two of the six deer seasons in the first draw. These seasons include: East River/Special Buck, West River/Special Buck, Black Hills, Muzzleloader, Refuge and Custer State Park. Special Buck license holders would be limited to one additional application in the first draw as long as that application was not valid for the same season as their Special Buck license.

Nonresident hunters remain eligible for eight percent of the allocation for West River, Black Hills and Refuge hunting seasons during the first drawing.

Other details include:

In the second draw, a hunter may not apply for a leftover license if they possess two licenses for any of the East River/Special Buck, West River/Special Buck, Black Hills, Muzzleloader, Refuge and Custer State Park deer hunting units in the first draw. A person with one license for these seasons may submit one application for a season they currently do not possess a license.

In the third draw, a resident hunter (even if they possess 2 licenses) may submit one application for each season they do not possess a license.

In the fourth draw, resident hunters may submit up to five applications. Only those nonresidents without two licenses may apply for a license remaining in pools originally designated (8%) for nonresidents (West River, Black Hills or Refuge).

After the fourth draw, all remaining resident and nonresident licenses would be pooled and sold first-come, first-served. There will be no limit on the number of licenses that a person can acquire.

In addition, preference points for the six deer seasons would be free to youth age 15 or younger during the calendar year when the preference point is acquired. An applicant who has not received a first choice license or has not obtained a license using preference that is or was age 15 or younger in the calendar year of the drawing would receive a bonus preference point for that deer season.

These changes are slated to be implemented for the 2019 deer hunting season if approved by the legislative interim rules review committee in April. One of the biggest changes would be that application deadlines for the six firearm seasons would be mid-June. The special buck application deadline would remain mid-April.

Pending finalization of this new proposal, the GFP Commission intends to conduct a comprehensive review in three years.