SD GFP make proposals for changes
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GFP Commission Proposes Fee Changes for State Parks

PIERRE – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed changes to state park campground classifications, as well as some entrance and facility fees.

State Park Director Katie Ceroll said the changes reflect the increased demand for and use of the state’s campgrounds and facilities.

The department recently reviewed campground occupancy rates, which are used to determine the classification of the campgrounds and the per night fees charged. Camping fees for each of the classifications will not change, Ceroll said, but fees at several parks would see a modest increase as they are moved into the correct category.

The proposal would establish the following campground classifications:

• Basic campgrounds: Campgrounds without modern facilities. $11 nightly per non-electric site; $15 nightly per electric site.

• Modern campgrounds: Less than 80% weekend occupancy during the summer; feature restrooms and showers. $13 nightly per non-electric site; $17 nightly per electric site. Includes 7 campgrounds.

• Preferred campgrounds: 80-89% weekend occupancy during the summer; feature restrooms and showers. $15 nightly per non-electric site; $19 nightly per electric site. Includes 7 campgrounds.

• Prime campgrounds: 90% or higher weekend occupancy during the summer; feature restrooms and showers. $17 nightly per non-electric site; $21 nightly per electric site. Includes 32 campgrounds.

Other fee changes proposed include:

• Elimination of the per person daily entrance license. The $6 per vehicle daily entrance license remains unchanged.

• Camping cabin fee increase to $45 in all parks except Custer, which will remain $50 per night.

• Campsites in French Creek Horse Camp in Custer State Park increase to $31 per night.

• Increase in some group lodging fees: Mina Lake and Shadehill to $205 a night; and Lake Thompson, Palisades, Sheps Canyon, and Newton Hills to $280 a night.

The proposal also calls for fee increases for the use of the following state park facilities:

• Fort Sisseton South Barracks rental would increase to $500.

• Lewis and Clark catamaran dry slip summer storage would increase to $325.

• The Angostura catamaran dry slip summer storage would increase to $175.

Details of the proposed changes can be viewed at

GFP Commission Considers Two Petitions for Changes to Mountain Lion Rules

The GFP Commission rejected one petition and accepted another petition requesting changes to the existing mountain lion season at their October meeting.

The first petition asked to remove the restrictions of the use of hounds on public land outside of the Black Hills Fire Protection District. After a thorough discussion, the GFP Commission accepted the petition as a proposal for expanded use of hounds to hunt mountain lions outside the Black Hills Fire Protection District. If adopted at the November GFP Commission meeting, the net result would allow the pursuit of mountain lions on other public lands open to hunting; including U.S. Forest Service lands. Hunts which include the use of hounds must still originate on private land.

The GFP Commission denied the second petition which was a request to remove the rule language that states hunters “must take the first legal lion treed” (in regards to the legal use of hounds while mountain lion hunting).

For more information on the petitions and proposal, please visit

Additional Elk Hunting Opportunity Proposed for Custer State Park

A proposal from the GFP Commission would increase the number of licenses available for a special Custer State Park antlerless elk hunting season from 20 to 60.

The proposal would also establish a new antlerless elk hunting unit for these additional antlerless elk licenses which allows GFP department officials to use adaptive management to learn more about the chronic wasting disease (CWD) infection rate of elk inside the park.

“Chronic wasting disease prevalence rates from the 2016 elk hunting season are a concern for both the short and long term status of the Black Hills elk population,” stated Tony Leif, director of the Division of Wildlife. “This additional harvest will help us better understand prevalence rates, reduce numbers where elk congregate and provide additional information to construct season structures for the 2018 hunting season.”

Rules for Marking NonMeandered Waters Proposed

The GFP Commission created a set of standards for landowners to follow when marking nonmeandered water over private property at their October meeting last week.

Newly adopted House Bill 1001 requires the Department to establish specific standards for markers used to indicate closure of nonmeandered waters to recreational use. The Commission proposed the following rules:

1. Nonmeandered water closures shall be marked with buoys or Department-supplied signs.

2. Signs and buoys must be placed no further apart than 660 feet.

3. Signs and buoys shall be installed so they are conspicuous.

4. Buoys shall be of polyform design.

5. Buoys shall be red with contrasting 3 inch minimum letters stating: “Closed”.

6. Buoy size shall be a diameter of not less than 14.5 inches and a length of not less than 19.5 inches.

7. Signs and buoys are to be installed, removed and maintained by the owner or their designee of the private property.

Any landowner who wishes to close the water overlying their flooded land on a nonmeandered water body must mark the water as closed to recreational use and notify the Department within a reasonable time of doing so. Any landowner who wishes to restrict access on a Section 8 nonmeandered lake must petition the GFP Commission to request such closure. To learn more about this process, please visit

GFP Commission Proposes an Aerial Hunting Rule Modification

Nonresident pilots may be able to obtain an aerial hunting permit from the GFP if a Commission proposal is approved in November.

“Landowners who desire additional predator control efforts on their property may be able to use nonresident pilots to assist with those efforts when necessary. There are times when some landowners desire additional predator control efforts, above and beyond what GFP and the federal USDA-Wildlife Services can provide. Because of these situations, a rule change was requested,” stated Keith Fisk, wildlife damage management program administrator.

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Currently, GFP administrative rule allows for only residents to obtain an aerial hunting permit.

Bighorn Sheep Hunting Season Proposed for 2018 and 2019

The GFP Commission proposed a rule adjustment which would allocate no more than five bighorn sheep licenses for both the 2018 and 2019 hunting seasons.

The proposed seasons would run Sept. 1 – Dec. 31 respectively. The proposal also removes language in administrative rule depicting the license type and number of licenses from each hunting unit.

By rule, if there is a minimum of three total bighorn sheep licenses, one of the licenses shall be an auction “ram bighorn sheep” license.

GFP Commission Proposes Modifications to Bait Rules

A rule proposal by the GFP Commission would require all bait dealers to list employees/agents on their application who will engage in trapping, transporting, delivering, raising, or seining bait and allow the Department to refuse the issuance of a license to a bait dealer with an employee/agent who has received a suspension or revocation of their bait dealer license.

GFP Commission Proposes the Removal of Walleye Length Limit on Lake Poinsett

The GFP Commission proposed to remove the 15-inch minimum size restriction for walleye on Lake Poinsett at their October meeting.

The Lake Poinsett walleye population has a large year class present. Fish growth is slow and walleyes are succumbing to natural mortality prior to attaining 15-inches in length and being available for anglers to harvest.

On Oct. 11, the Department will host a public meeting to provide information regarding the Lake Poinsett fishery and to gather public input regarding the potential regulation removal. The meeting will be held at the Methodist Camp Retreat Center on Lake Poinsett at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on this meeting, contact Mark Ermer at 605.345.3381.

GFP Commission Updates Name Changes to the Threatened and Endangered Species List

The GFP Commission proposed to change the scientific names of four fish and animal species on the state threatened and endangered lists. These changes were proposed due to taxonomic name changes within the scientific community.

The birds and fish changes are as follows:

• Interior Least Tern (Sterna antillarum athalassos) to Least Tern (Sternula antillarum)

• Finescale dace (Phoxinus neogaeus) to Finescale dace (Chrosomus neogaeus)

• Northern redbelly dace (Phounus eos) to Northern redbelly dace (Chrosomus eos)

• Pearl dace (Marariscus margarita) to Northern pearl dace (Margariscus nachtriebi)

The Commission will finalize this proposal Nov. 2-3, 2017, at the McCrory Gardens in Brookings. Written comments can be sent to To be part of the public record, comments must be received by 12 p.m. CDT on Nov. 2. Please include a full name along with the city and state of residence. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. CDT at McCrory Gardens in Brookings.

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