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GFP to host open houses on Chronic Wasting Disease

 The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks will host public open houses to provide information and awareness on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer and elk herds within the state.

“The department is developing a draft action plan outlining the state’s approach to slowing the spread of this wildlife disease,” said Chad Switzer, wildlife program administrator. “Not only do we want hunters to attend these events, we encourage game processors, taxidermists, landowners, captive deer and elk operators, conservation leaders and other community members to be part of the discussion. Each event will focus on the biology and history of CWD and preventive measures to reduce the spread. We will also be there to talk about surveillance and outreach strategies as well as answer questions."

In South Dakota, CWD currently is known to exist in Custer, Fall River, Lawrence and Pennington counties.

GFP offers assistance to landowners experiencing deer damage

 The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) wants landowners to know that programs and services are available to reduce damage to operations due to large deer herds moving into farmyards seeking protection from severe winter weather.

“Currently, the department is working on approximately 120 requests for assistance with deer damage, statewide,” said Keith Fisk, wildlife damage program administrator. “Severe winter weather has forced deer to move many miles and these animals are affecting landowner’s and producer’s operations. Because landowners are imperative for successful wildlife management, our local wildlife damage staff work cooperatively with them to determine the best approach to address these problems.”

GFP can provide protective panels or fencing to keep deer from accessing stored-feed supplies as well as implement hazing techniques, depredation pool hunts, and supplemental feeding to keep deer away from farmyards and livestock operations.

“Early detection of damage also helps other wildlife damage abatement techniques be successful. Once a large number of deer start coming into a farmyard for feed, it can be difficult to stop the damage,” said Fisk.

If a landowner is experiencing deer damage to stored-feed supplies intended for livestock, they should contact their local GFP office.

Aberdeen: 605-626-2391

Chamberlain: 605-734-4530

Fort Pierre: 605-223-7700

Huron: 605-353-7145

Mobridge: 605-845-7814

Rapid City: 605-394-2391

Sioux Falls: 605-362-2700

Watertown: 605-882-5200

Webster: 605-345-3381

Bald Eagle Awareness Days events set for this weekend

Bald Eagle Awareness Days celebrates its 27th year of entertainment and education by emphasizing the need for conservation and appreciation of bald eagles and other birds of prey. Interested persons will have several free events to choose from to learn more about birds of prey.

On Friday, The Outdoor Campus-East in Sioux Falls will have an open house and program beginning at 4 p.m. MST featuring live birds of prey presented by educators from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. To register, please visit outdoorcampus.org or call 605.362.2777.

On Saturday, educators from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota will present programs featuring live birds of prey at the Pierre Ramkota in Theatre II, in conjunction with the KCCR Farm, Home and Sports Show. Programs begin at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. MST.

In addition, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ (GFP) Outdoor Campus-West in Rapid City will host a raptor-themed open house on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a presentation by the Black Hills Raptor Center at 1 p.m. No registration is required.

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