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Free fishing, free park entrance on Father’s Day

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is celebrating dads with a day of free fishing and free entrance into state parks on Father’s Day on Sunday. Fishing regulations and limits as well as camping fees still apply.

“Fishing and being in the great outdoors is engrained in South Dakotans. We fish, hike and boat. It’s who we are,” said GFP Secretary Kelly Hepler. “The free fishing and park entrance day on Father’s Day is our way to thank our outdoor families. More importantly, it’s a chance to encourage new families to get out and see what fishing and our amazing parks are all about.”

With free entrance on Father’s Day, visitors can help us celebrate 100 years of state parks in South Dakota, Hepler noted.

“Parks are hosting a variety of special events this summer including a 100 Years Scavenger Hunt where 30 parks are offering a chance for participants to win prizes from gift cards to camping packages and recreational equipment.”

Visit gfp.sd.gov to view other upcoming park events.

Prairie dog control programs available

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The South Dakota departments of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and Agriculture (SDDA) want to remind South Dakota producers to contact either department regarding prairie dog encroachment issues. The state’s prairie dog control program is cooperatively operated by the GFP and SDDA.

GFP manages encroachment issues for prairie dogs that move from public lands to adjacent private lands, while the SDDA manages complaints between private landowners.

“GFP will control prairie dogs that have encroached onto private land from adjacent public land,” said GFP wildlife damage program administrator Keith Fisk. “However, landowners that have encroachment problems on their property from adjacent public land must be within one-mile of the public land and have at least 10 acres (of actual prairie dog colonies) to be eligible for assistance.”

Additionally, landowners must register on GFP’s website and request assistance regarding unwanted prairie dogs before Aug. 15, 2019. Once eligibility has been verified later this fall, GFP staff or a department representative will control the invading colony on the private land. All complaints must be received by the Aug. 15, 2019 deadline.

Landowners who are experiencing encroachment from adjoining private land should contact the SDDA. If the colony is encroaching from private land, a signed written complaint must be completed.

There are two methods to file a complaint. The first option is for the affected landowner to sign a letter of complaint and mail it to the local County Weed and Pest Board. The second method requires the landowner to submit a formal written complaint to the SDDA, as well as mail a copy to the neighboring landowner. Landowners can find the form on the SDDA’s website, sdda.sd.gov, or by calling the SDDA at 605.773.3796. Notices of private land encroachment may be sent to the SDDA throughout the year.

Please visit prairiedogcontrol.sd.gov to register for GFP’s assistance. For additional questions about assistance with prairie dog encroachment from public land or eligibility, please contact GFP at 605.773.5913. The South Dakota Prairie Dog Management Plan is available online at gfp.sd.gov/UserDocs/nav/prairiedog-management-plan.

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