Bighorn sheep season will have increased opportunities

Bighorn sheep season will have increased opportunities

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Bighorn sheep season will have increased opportunities

PIERRE – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission voted to allow up to a total of eight bighorn sheep licenses for the 2020 season. Of the eight licenses, one will be an auction license and the revenue specifically used for bighorn sheep management.

The commission also established a new hunting unit in Custer and Pennington counties, modified an existing hunting unit for Custer and Fall River counties and re-established a hunting unit in Custer State Park.

GFP changes tundra swan, duck, youth waterfowl seasons

PIERRE – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission finalized changes to three waterfowl hunting seasons at their March meeting.

The changes reduce the number of available resident tundra swan hunting licenses from 1,425 to 1,100 and nonresident licenses from 250 to 200. This reduction in licenses comes from the recommendation of the Central Flyway Council and was adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The commission modified the season start dates for the Low Plains North and Low Plains Middle duck hunting zones. With this change, the season will start one week earlier four out of the next ten years, allowing hunters to take advantage of local breeding ducks such as blue-winged teal. The season structure will now begin the Saturday closest to Sept. 24. For these zones the 2020 duck hunting season will begin Sept. 26.

The commission also moved the 2020 Youth Waterfowl Season. The change aligns with the federal framework that allows the season to begin the Saturday closest to 14 days prior to Sept. 24. The upcoming youth waterfowl season will be Sept. 12-13.

GFP changes flathead catfish length limit restriction

PIERRE – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission has established a length limit on flathead catfish. The new rule limits the harvest of flathead catfish 30 inches or longer to one per day on inland waters, as part of the catfish daily limit. The original proposal was made at the November commission meeting and included all waters in the state, including border waters, and originated from the public petition process.

GFP staff attended a meeting to discuss catfish management with Iowa and Nebraska in February. The goal of that meeting was to develop common regulations for catfish on border waters. The department recommended to the commission that the “one-over-30 inches” regulation for flathead catfish also apply to the Nebraska border waters and the commission proposed that change.

The commission will consider formally adopting the change in flathead catfish regulations on the Nebraska border waters at their meeting in Custer State Park on May 7-8. Discussions will continue with Iowa with anticipated regulation changes to be considered later in the year.

 Commission retains current rules for spring turkey season

PIERRE – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission deadlocked on a proposal allowing the use of rifles to hunt turkeys on private land during the West River spring turkey season.

After much discussion and public testimony, four commissioners voted in favor and four commissioners voted against the proposal, leaving the current regulation in place which does not allow the use of rifles during the spring turkey season.

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