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GFP commission makes changes to limited draw preference points

At its January commissioners meeting, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks changed the way preference points effect 36 limited draw seasons.

The commission decided to take the number of times a person is in the draw and cube that number (number of preference points + 1 for the current application). This adjustment is intended to provide those hunters with a higher number of preference points a greater chance of drawing a limited license than currently exists.

"The drawing will, essentially, be run the exact same way as before," GF&P licensing supervisor Shon Eide said in a release. "We will have the same breakdown of preference point pools for every season, however, now we will cube the number of times the person's name is in the draw before that draw is run."

Eide went on to say in the release that this will increase hunters with a lot of preference points odds at getting a license, but will not guarantee anyone a license.

"This doesn't change the drawing to a true top down preference point system," he said. "A hunter with the most preference points would still not be guranteed a license before another with less preference points who is in the same draw pool, but their odds of drawing a license would be increased over someone else in the draw pool with fewer preference points."

The cubing of preference points also does not impact the price of preference points or the number of preference points a hunter can acquire in any given year.

The cubed preference point system will first be applied to the 2018 elk and Gavin’s Point paddlefish snagging drawings and then used for all limited draw seasons. It will not be used for special buck, Francis Case paddlefish snagging or spring turkey drawings until 2019.

Custer State Park interior roads temporarily closed due to logging activity

Salvage timber logging began in Custer State Park on Wednesday, and due to visitor safety and the heavy flow of truck traffic, all interior gravel roads in the park will be closed until further notice.

Road closure signs are located at the junction for Oak Draw and Fisherman Flats Road on the Wildlife Loop Road, and on Highway 87 South at the turnoff for North Lame Johnny Road.

Park officials will continuously monitor and evaluate the closures based on logging activity, with all roads being reopened for the camping season.

6,261 acres will be logged within the Legion Lake Fire burned acreage aiding in long term forest health sustainability, reducing the fuel intensity of future wildfires and insect encroachment.

Logging operations within the park will run seven days a week.

Talks set for the recovery of the Legion Lake Fire

At 9 a.m. February 3, Custer State Park will host three guests at the Visitor Center who will talk about the Legion Lake Fire and its impacts. Starting Monday, Dec 11, 2017 the Legion Lake Fire was the third largest wild fire within the Black Hills, impacting slightly more than 54,000 acres.

Jay Wickham, a Fire Management Officer with SD Wildland Fire, will talk about the history of fire within the area and the initial plan in dealing with the Legion Lake Fire. Travis Lipp, a Fire Management Specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, will talk about the fire from an operations standpoint; the progression of the fire, the strategies and tactics utilized in controlling the spread of the fire, and why those particular strategies were chosen. Finally, Mark Hendrix, Resource Program Manager with Custer State Park, will talk about the recovery efforts and looking to the future.

 The Visitor Center, located at the intersection of Hwy 16A and Wildlife Loop Road, is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For more information check the Custer State Park Facebook page at or contact the Park Office at (605) 255-4515.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.