Additional Custer State Park elk hunting opportunities open 

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission increased the number of licenses available for a special Custer State Park antlerless elk hunting season from 20 to 60.

In addition, four new antlerless elk hunting units (for residents only) were established for these antlerless elk licenses allowing department officials to use adaptive management to learn more about the chronic wasting disease (CWD) infection rate of elk inside Custer State Park. This additional harvest will help GFP better understand prevalence rates, reduce numbers where elk congregate and provide additional information to construct season structures for future hunting seasons.

The online-only application period opened Nov. 7, and will close on Nov. 15 at 7 a.m. MST.

The additional 40 licenses will be equally distributed through four seasons:

1. CAE-CU3: Dec. 2-10, 2017;

2. CAE-CU4: Dec. 16-24, 2017;

3. CAE-CU5: Dec. 30, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018; and

4. CAE-CU6: Jan. 13-21, 2018.

Preference points will be factored into the application process in which successful applicants will lose all accumulated preference points for the Custer Antlerless Elk season and will not be able to re-apply for this season for nine years.

For map details and additional information, visit

GFP commission rejects mountain lion hunting expansion

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission did not adopt their proposal which would have expanded the use of hounds to hunt mountain lions.

The initial request, through the citizen petition process, asked to remove the restrictions of the use of hounds on public land outside of the Black Hills Fire Protection District. In October, the GFP Commission accepted a petition as a proposal which allowed for public input and a public hearing at their November meeting.

After receiving public comment and further discussing the matter, the GFP Commission did not adopt the change. Lion hunting with hounds outside the Black Hills Fire Protection District will remain under the same structure. Pursuits must originate on private land and can culminate on School and Public Lands or Bureau of Land Management properties with the exception of the Fort Meade Recreation Area.

Rules for marking nonmeandered waters now finalized

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized a set of standards for landowners to follow when marking nonmeandered water over private property.

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

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

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

Signs and buoys shall be installed so they are conspicuous.

Buoys shall be of polyform design.

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

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

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

Property corner boundaries located in the water must be marked by signs or buoys.

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View an image of these markers.

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.

Bighorn sheep hunting season rule adjustments finalized

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized a rule adjustment which would allocate no more than five bighorn sheep licenses for both the 2018 and 2019 hunting seasons.

The actual number of licenses by unit will be determined after the Department concludes its annual bighorn sheep surveys this winter and recommended license allocations are approved by the GFP Commission at the January 2018 meeting in Pierre.

The bighorn sheep hunting seasons will run Sept. 1-Dec. 31 for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Aerial hunting rule modified for nonresidents

Nonresident pilots are now able to apply for and obtain an aerial hunting permit from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP).

Landowners dealing with livestock loss due to predators on their property will now be able to also use nonresident pilots to assist when necessary; providing another option or tool for landowners.

State park fee changes approved by commission

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission approved changes to state park campground classifications, as well as some entrance and facility fees at their meeting last week.

The changes now go under review by the Interim Rules Review Committee.

Details of the proposed changes can be viewed online at

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