PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) would like to remind resident hunters of unique opportunities that could exist later this winter.
GFP’s Wildlife Damage Management Program assists landowners with wildlife depredation abatement techniques. When other methods are ineffective, GFP may utilize hunters to help reduce damage caused by wildlife.
“Winter depredation hunts are a valuable management tool that GFP uses in some situations to alleviate wildlife damage to landowners’ stored-feed supplies,” said wildlife damage program administrator, Keith Fisk. “Depredation hunts are largely dependent upon the severity of the winter, snowfall accumulations and the number of animals involved.”
In the past, GFP utilized unsuccessful elk hunters for elk depredation hunts, but following an administrative rule change, all hunters, excepting those that held an elk hunting license in 2016, may register for an elk depredation hunt if a hunt is needed.
South Dakota residents may register for potential depredation hunts for deer, elk, antelope and turkey starting Dec. 1, 2016. Hunters can register free-of-charge; however, if a hunter is selected for an elk depredation permit, there is a $20 fee. All other depredation permits are issued for free. Register at http://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/depredation-hunts.aspx
With the exception of hunters registering for elk, all other hunters are encouraged to register for counties near their home or within close driving distance. “Hunters may register for a maximum of 10 counties for any species other than elk,” said Fisk. “Depredation hunts are often time-sensitive and winter weather can sometimes make travel difficult for participating hunters. For a successful hunt, GFP needs participating hunters to be available at the hunt location almost immediately.”
Once a depredation hunt is authorized, registered hunters are then put into a random drawing to determine eligibility. In 2015, GFP issued two deer depredation hunts.
Winter depredation hunts focus on assisting landowners with wildlife damage, but can also provide hunters with another opportunity after traditional hunting seasons are closed.
For more information, visit the GFP website or call 605.223.7660.