PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is working on a recommendation regarding this year’s use of elk contingency licenses for the GFP Commission to take action on in Sioux Falls next week.
“Due to this year’s dry conditions, the Department will use a variety of sources to help generate a recommendation for the GFP Commission to consider; including a decision-making tool assessed by an outside stakeholder group,” stated Tom Kirschenmann deputy director of the GFP Wildlife Division. “Elk contingency licenses are a product of the elk management plan as a means of responding quicker to environmental conditions such as drought, like we have experienced this year.”
The Department is working on its recommendation on whether or not to issue additional antlerless elk licenses. GFP recently met with the US Forest Service and the National Resource Conservation Service to discuss Black Hills range conditions and evaluated forage production data to better understand forage conditions on federal lands and any changes to livestock grazing plans or allowances. In addition, the US Drought Monitor will also be considered and used as an information source to help guide the recommendation to the GFP Commission.
“The percent of normal forage production obtained from the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service and current elk population objectives will serve as significant pieces of information in the development of the Department recommendation,” stated Kirschenmann.
The GFP Commission will take final action of either authorizing contingency licenses or not at the GFP Commission meeting on Sept. 7 which begins at 1 p.m. CDT at the Sioux Falls Ramada. Public comments can be provided in person during the open forum session of the meeting or in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“There’s a small window to obtain and analyze the most up-to-date information possible used in building the Department recommendation,” Kirschenmann noted. “If determined necessary to implement contingency licenses, the application process for any additional antlerless elk tags will begin after the September GFP Commission meeting.”
To learn more about South Dakota’s elk management plan and the use of elk contingency licenses, visit http://gfp.sd.gov/wildlife/management/plans/docs/ElkPlanApril2015Final.pdf.