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Possible increase in any elk licenses for the prairie elk season

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed to increase the any elk licenses and add a new hunting unit to the 2018 and 2019 prairie elk hunting seasons.

The proposed allocation includes 68 any elk and 73 antlerless elk licenses, an increase of nine any elk licenses and a reduction of 22 antlerless elk licenses compared to 2017. The proposal also includes establishing Harding county as Unit 35A for the prairie elk hunting season. This unit would have eight any elk licenses available for 2018 and 2019.

Unit 09A : Portions of Butte, Lawrence and Meade counties

10 any elk and 10 antlerless elk licenses

Unit 11A,B,C,D : Bennett county; portions of Jackson and Mellette counties

32 any elk and 48 antlerless elk licenses

Unit 15A : Portions of Butte county

8 any elk and 5 antlerless elk licenses

Unit 27A: Portions of Fall River county

10 any elk and 10 antlerless elk licenses

Unit 35A : Harding County

Proposal lengthens the Custer State Park elk hunting season

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission is proposing to change the Custer State Park elk hunting season to run the entire month of October. Previous seasons have run for 16 consecutive days, beginning on the third Saturday in September.

The proposal calls for the 2018 and 2019 seasons to have nine any elk licenses and 60 antlerless only elk licenses available for Custer State Park. Ten licenses would be available for each of the six proposed antlerless hunting seasons. The antlerless only licenses would be valid for an area in the extreme south end of Custer State Park.

Also, no changes were proposed to the Custer State Park early archery elk hunting season which will have three any elk licenses with season dates of Sept. 1-30 for both 2018 and 2019.

Catch and release only regulation for musky set

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission changed the harvest restrictions for muskellunge and tiger muskies from a statewide 40 inch minimum length limit and a daily limit of one fish, to catch and release only statewide.

Currently, South Dakota has five lakes that are managed for muskellunge. They are Lynn and Middle Lynn in Day county, West Highway 81 in Kingsbury county, Sinai in Brookings county and North Island Lake in McCook and Minnehaha counties. While anglers are most likely to catch a muskellunge or tiger muskie in these waters, they do occur in other waters previously stocked.

Proposal ends all deer seasons on Jan.1

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed to have all deer hunting seasons end on Jan. 1.

It was also proposed to eliminate the administrative rule language which specifies that only antlerless licenses are valid from Jan. 1-15 for the archery and muzzleloader deer hunting seasons to conform to the proposed regulation stating all deer seasons end Jan. 1.

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The GFP Commission will consider adopting this proposal on May 3-4 in Custer State Park. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 3 at 2 p.m. Individuals can also provide written comments on commission rule proposals by sending them to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501, or via email to To be included in the public record and to be considered by the Commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing) per HB 1006.

Additional bighorn sheep hunting unit created

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission voted to create a new hunting unit for bighorn sheep.

The unit will be the portion of Pennington county east of the Cheyenne River and the portion of Jackson county north of the White River, excluding Badlands National Park.

The GFP Commission allocated one license for the new unit.

The season runs from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 for both 2018 and 2019.

GFP commission creates no wake zones at Shadehill and West Bend

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission established two “no wake zones” on Shadehill Reservoir in Perkins county and West Bend Recreation Area in Hughes county.

The area on Shadehill Reservoir will contain the waters beginning approximately 600 feet east of the West boat ramp and extending from the north shoreline to the south shoreline encompassing the bay where the West boat ramp is located.

The West Bend no wake zone will include the waterfront beginning on the southeast corner of the boat ramp parking lot and run approximately 380 yards in a southeasterly direction upstream to camping cabins #3.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.