Deadline to enroll in Prairie Dog Control Program is coming up
WEST RIVER, S.D. – If you’re a rancher or farmer with a prairie dog problem… there’s still time to enroll in a program that could help.
The South Dakota Departments of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and Agriculture (SDDA) want to remind rancher, farmers, and landowners that the deadline to enroll in this state-wide required program is on Thursday, Aug. 15th. GFP puts oats covered in zinc phosphide into the prairie dogs’ burrows as a way to treat the over-populated area. This is something that is only effective when eaten by the prairie dogs.
Keith Wintersteen with the Outdoor Campus West says there are some requirements that have to be met to make your property eligible before it can be treated. “To qualify for the program you need at least ten acres of prairie dog colony on your privately-held land. Qualifying private landowners must be within a mile of public land. So you need to be close to public land that has existing prairie dog populations on it and they’ve moved from that public land onto your private land. If that’s the case we will come out, look at the situation and if you qualify, then we’ll help you control those prairie dogs,” said Wintersteen.
Once GFP determines if you are eligible, a representative will contact you to arrange a time for the treatment to take place.
“When you enroll in this program and you meet the ten acre qualification you will sign a contract that allows a contractor that is certified to do prairie dog control, you’re not allowing anyone to come out and hunt, it’s just our contractor that we have put through the certification process. They will come out and they will do the control measures. We’re only interested in helping you control prairie dogs on private land. That’s it,” said Wintersteen.
If you’re worried that you might not meet the ten acre requirement, you can resubmit for evaluation next year. You just need to submit every year and we’ll come out and evaluate. Wintersteens says, “even if you aren’t sure if you have ten acres, please contact us and we’ll be more than happy to come out to survey and talk to you and explain the program. Then if you qualify next year, you can sign up again and we’ll help you out.”
Keep in mind, that because the treatment for control is something the prairie dogs have to eat, the best time for them to come out and treat your property would be once the grass begins to die so the prairie dogs have less food options.
Click here for more information on how to sign up for this program before next week’s deadline.