After seeing deer populations decrease west of the Missouri River and in the Black Hills, state Game, Fish & Parks Commission officials decided to make 8,600 fewer deer hunting tags available this fall.
The commission voted at its meeting June 3 and 4 to decrease the overall West River deer hunting tags by about 8,000 for residents and more than 600 for nonresidents.
And while that may seem drastic, state game officials said there will still be ample licenses.
“Over 27,000 licenses and approximately 61,000 associated tags for resident West River deer hunters will be issued for the 2010 season,” Tom Kirschenmann, terrestrial resources chief with the commission, said in a news release.
“Western South Dakota had a couple of tough winters, and the decrease in tags issued is a reflection of a decrease in deer numbers in many of the western counties, as well as a number of three-tag licenses converted to two-tag licenses,” he added.
The number of tags available to deer hunters in the Black Hills was also be reduced.
The 2010 Black Hills deer season will see 100 fewer resident and eight fewer nonresident “Any Deer” licenses, 500 fewer resident and 40 fewer nonresident “Any Whitetail” licenses, 300 fewer resident and 24 fewer nonresident “Antlerless” deer licenses and 1,400 fewer resident and 112 fewer nonresident “Antlerless Whitetail” licenses compared to last year.
According to the commission, deer herd population data indicates the Black Hills deer population continues to decline and significant reduction in the antlerless harvest is needed to increase the deer population to acceptable levels for both hunters and landowners.
The 2010 West River Deer Season will run from Nov. 6 through Nov. 9 and Nov. 22 through Nov. 28 in Units 30A (Gregory) and 50A (Mellette); Nov. 6 through Nov. 28 in Units 24A (Dewey), 64A (Ziebach) and 20A (Corson); and Nov. 13 through Nov. 28 in all other West River units.
The Black Hills deer hunting season runs from Nov. 1 through Nov. 30.