No change to using horses while dog training on public lands

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission rejected a proposal to adjust the days when dog training on horseback can occur on public lands.

The proposal came about through the public petition process.

By not adopting the proposed changes, the commission retained the existing rules. Currently, dog trainers are allowed to use horses on public lands on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from the first Friday of August through the first Sunday in September.

Changes made to mountain lion hunting season

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission made several changes to the mountain lion hunting season.

The commission extended the season within the Black Hills Fire Protection District from Dec. 26 to April 30. The season previously closed on March 31. The commission also increased Custer State Park access permits from 57 to 75.

Changes discussed but rejected by the commission include adding 250 nonresident mountain lion licenses and expanding the allowance for the use of dogs in a hunt that originates on private land to cross over or culminate on any public lands where unleashed dogs are permitted.

The commission also extended the season dates for hunting coyotes in Custer State Park. This season will now run from Dec. 26–April 30, which matches the mountain lion season.

In addition, the commission removed the previous requirement of obtaining a free access permit to coyote hunt in the park.

GFP Commission increases park and camping fees

The Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission moved forward with a proposal to increase state park entrance fees for the first time since 2014. The Commission also took action to raise select camping fees, many of which had also been unchanged for several years.

Pending approval from the Interim Rules Committee, fee increases will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

This year, several parks have faced significant damage from flooding, with repair costs upwards of $9 million. Additionally, revenue has been impacted by decreased visitation because of weather and weather-related damage. Some campgrounds had to be closed as a result of flooding.

Annual passes to state parks will be $36 with a daily fee of $8. A 7-day motorcycle pass to Custer State Park will be $20. In campgrounds, prime campsites increase to $26, preferred sites to $23 and modern to $20. Fees for non-electric, tent-only sites will be going down in some cases. These sites will now be $15 statewide to ensure park opportunities are affordable for everyone.

The increase is in line with the rate of inflation and with fees in surrounding states. The revenue raised from this increase will directly support repairs and upkeep in state parks.

GFP Commission denies telescopic muzzleloader pptics proposal 

The Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission voted to leave current regulations in place regarding telescopics on muzzleloaders, which do not allow scopes that use magnification; 1X scopes remain legal.

The proposal initially came to the commission via the public petition process.

GFP Commission rejects modifications to trapping regulations

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission denied proposals to modify the period in which a trapper must check their set traps and snares. In response to a public petition and discussion of an alternative approach between the GFP Commission and Department, two alternate proposals were considered.

Between public input and discussion among commissioners, a decision was rendered which led to neither proposal being adopted. In turn, the current regulations remain unchanged and require that all traps and snares East River be checked prior to 12 o’clock midnight of the second full calendar day and all traps and snare West River be checked prior to 12 o’clock midnight of the third full calendar day. Regulations also remain unchanged for any trap or snare entirely submerged in water that remains set beneath the ice, which are to be checked prior to 12 o'clock midnight of the fifth full calendar day statewide, following a previous check or when the trap was initially set.

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