GFP sets some 2019 hunting seasons, modifies rules

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has been busy.

This month, the commission set waterfowl and turkey hunting seasons, changed fish limits and approved a deer license allocation proposal. They also modified rules on aquatic invasive species, Nebraska border waters, fish spearing and archery rules.

View details on everything below.


Deer License Allocation Proposal Approved Unanimously by GFP Commission

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has voted to approve the deer license allocation proposal with no changes.

The most significant change from how the drawings are structured today is that drawings for East River, West River, Black Hills and Muzzleloader deer seasons will be combined in the first and second drawings. In the first draw, applicants will have to choose between one of the four seasons. Special buck, Custer State Park and Refuge deer hunting seasons will remain unchanged from the current draw structure.

“This was not an easy decision to make. The tough topics and conversations don’t come without discomfort or change,” stated Russell Olson, GFP commissioner from Wentworth. “Good policy leaders seek change and look for ways to make South Dakota better. South Dakota has and will continue to have more deer hunting opportunity than just about any other state in the Midwest. We will be watching this closely and if the new system isn’t doing what it’s designed to do, we will make changes.”

Changes that will be effective for the 2019 deer hunting seasons include:

1.  Remove Special Buck, Custer State Park and Refuge Deer from the combined deer drawing.

  • These seasons will remain separate drawings.
  • Hunters still have to choose among licenses available for East River, West River Black Hills and Muzzleloader in the first draw, both first and second choices.

2.  In the second draw, an applicant may only apply for a license if the applicant did not draw a license in the first draw.

3.  In the third draw, the four seasons will no longer be drawn together and a resident will submit one application for each season they do not have a license for.

  • The maximum number of licenses a resident could have through the third draw is four; one for each of the East River, West River, Black Hills and Muzzleloader seasons.
  • Non-residents without a license will be able to apply for a license remaining in pools originally designated for non-residents in the Black Hills and West River deer hunting seasons.

4.  In the fourth draw, remaining resident and non-resident licenses will be pooled within each season.

  • Residents can submit up to five applications in any of the four seasons.
  • Non-residents who do not have a license can submit one application for any remaining license.

5.  After the fourth draw, all licenses will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

6. While first draw applicants must continue to use accrued preference points for their first choice, applicants can use preference points for any other choice in the first three drawings. An applicant who uses preference to acquire a license in a season is not allowed to purchase a preference point for that season. The advantage of this new system is that hunters can accrue preference points for multiple seasons and then elect to switch to a different “preferred” license in a different season in a future year.

“The department did an unprecedented amount of outreach on this topic and continues to receive questions and feedback regarding the decision made and what happens next,” concluded Kevin Robling, GFP special projects coordinator. “Ultimately this is about increasing deer hunters’ chances of getting their preferred license more often and getting more people out deer hunting every year.”

For additional frequently asked questions and answers, click here.


GFP commission removes domicile fish possession limits and liberalized fishing regulations

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has removed fish possession limits at an angler’s permanent residence. While possession at a permanent residence will be unlimited, possession limits would remain in place for transporting fish and for storing fish at all locations outside of a person’s domicile; which is their established, fixed and permanent home.

The commission also repealed liberalized fishing regulations. The department has not used liberalized fishing rules for some time as they were not effective in accomplishing intended management goals.

Additionally, the commission removed the closed fishing seasons for game fish on Minnesota/South Dakota border waters. This removal reduces regulation complexity and increases recreational opportunities for anglers.

The commission also removed spring stream closures in eastern South Dakota, in association with opening spearing for northern pike and catfish year-round on all waters except those managed for muskies.


GFP commission changes fish limits

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has made several changes to fish limits.

These changes or removals include:

  • Removed the daily and possession limits for white bass and rock bass.
  • Eliminated the regulation allowing for one trout over 14 inches from Black Hills lakes.
  • Established a minimum length limit of 24 inches and a daily limit of one for lake trout or splake in the Black Hills Fish Management Area.
  • Removed the 15-inch minimum size restriction on walleye for Richmond and Elm Lakes in Brown County, Enemy Swim and Pickerel Lakes in Day County, Clear and Roy Lakes in Marshall County and Lake Mitchell in Davison County.
  • Removed black bass (largemouth and smallmouth) size restrictions from all waters with the exception of Burke Lake, New Wall Lake and Lake Yankton.
  • Added a 28-inch minimum length and a daily limit of one walleye on Horseshoe Lake in Day County.
  • Modified the Lake Francis Case paddlefish season to allow license holders to take a paddlefish with snagging gear or bow and arrow.

GFP commission finalizes modifications to Nebraska border waters and fish spearing and archery rules

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has opened up the spearing of rough fish year-round on South Dakota/Nebraska border waters and added crossbows and legal spearguns to the list of legal methods of take for rough fish.

The commission also made the following changes to spearfishing regulations:

  • Opened up the entirety of Lake Sharpe and Lake Francis Case to gamefish spearing and archery during established season dates.
  • Removed the requirement to purchase a game fish spearing and archery permit.
  • Changed spearing season dates for northern pike and catfish on inland waters, except those managed for muskie, to year-round.
  • Changed gamefish spearing and archery season dates on the South Dakota/Nebraska border waters to July 1 – Dec. 1 to match Nebraska’s season.
  • Allowed for the take of gamefish below Gavins Point Dam during established season dates.
    Prohibited spearing and archery fishing in Angostura and Lewis and Clark Lake marinas.

GFP commission modifies AIS rules

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has made several modifications to the aquatic invasive species rules.

These modifications include:

  • Added Starry Stonewort to the list of aquatic invasive species.
  • Allowed exemptions for commercial plant harvesters and lakeshore property owners from the prohibitions of possessing aquatic invasive species if authorized to do so by the department.
  • Allowed the GFP Department secretary to authorize certain boats to keep plugs in while being trailered.
  • Added Lake Yankton to the list of containment waters.

GFP commission finalizes waterfowl hunting seasons

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission set the 2019 early fall Canada goose, Special Canada goose, August Management Take, youth waterfowl and tundra swan hunting seasons with no proposed changes from 2018.

The early fall Canada goose season will run from Sept. 7-30, have a daily limit of eight Canada geese and a possession limit of 24. The early fall Canada goose hunting season is for Unit 1 only.

The special Canada goose season will run from Oct. 19 – Dec. 22 in Bennett County. For 2019, 800 three-tag licenses will be available for residents and 25 two-tag permits are available to nonresidents.

The August Management Take will be open for Pennington County, west of the Cheyenne River from Aug. 17–31. This season is open to residents only and has a 15 Canada goose daily limit and no possession limit.

The 2019 youth waterfowl hunting season will be Sept. 21-22. This season is open state-wide to residents and nonresidents who have not reached the age of 16 by the first day of the season. Daily and possession limits apply.

The tundra swan hunting season will run from Sept. 28 through the end of the light goose hunting season. There will be 1,425 resident and 250 nonresident single-tag licenses.


Custer State Park turkey hunting season set

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has finalized the Custer State Park spring turkey hunting season for 2019 and 2020 with no changes from 2018 with season dates being April 13 – May 19, 2019 and April 11 – May 17, 2020.

There will be 100 resident one-tag male turkey licenses available.

Information from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission
Categories: South Dakota News