PIERRE, S.D. – As winter approaches, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) reminds resident hunters of unique opportunities that could exist later this winter.
GFP’s Wildlife Damage Management Program assists landowners with wildlife depredation abatement programs and services. When other methods are ineffective, GFP may utilize hunters to help reduce damage caused by wildlife.
“Winter depredation hunts are a valuable management tool that GFP uses in some situations to alleviate wildlife damage to landowners’ stored-feed supplies,” said wildlife damage program administrator, Keith Fisk. “Depredation hunts are largely dependent upon the severity of the winter, snowfall accumulations and the number of animals involved.”
South Dakota residents may register for potential depredation hunts for deer, elk, antelope and turkey starting Dec. 1, 2017. Hunters can register free-of-charge; however, if a hunter is selected for an elk depredation permit, there is a $20 fee. All other depredation permits are issued for free. Register at gfp.sd.gov/hunting/depredation-hunts.aspx.
With the exception of hunters registering for elk, all other hunters are encouraged to register for counties near their home or within close driving distance. “Hunters may register for a maximum of 10 counties for any species other than elk,” said Fisk. “Depredation hunts are often time-sensitive and winter weather can sometimes make travel difficult for participating hunters. For a successful hunt, GFP needs participating hunters to be available at the hunt location almost immediately.”
Once registered, hunters are then put into a random drawing to determine eligibility once a depredation hunt is authorized. During the winter of 2016-17, GFP issued 37 different deer depredation hunts across the state.
Winter depredation hunts focus on assisting landowners with wildlife damage, but can also provide hunters with another opportunity after traditional hunting seasons are closed.
For more information, visit the GFP website or call 605.223.7660.