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SD Game, Fish and Parks assesses upcoming hunting numbers

Half of the decoys were on this side of the bend. The other half is around the corner
Kevin Woster

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks commission is examining proposed licensing numbers for nonresident waterfowl and small game hunting seasons.

This comes out of a two-day meeting establishing next hunting season’s limits and opportunities.

The commission’s first order of business was to introduce its newest commissioner Travis Theel. He was recently appointed by Gov. Kristi Noem to serve on the GF&P commission.

Theel said the appointment is an honor.

“I really look forward to my time on the commission. The opportunity to have a positive influence on hunting, fishing, and the outdoors in South Dakota is pretty special to me. I am excited to be here and encourage anyone to reach out if you have any questions,” said Theel.

A primary topic of conversation for commissioners on the first day of the meeting was increasing nonresident waterfowl licensing numbers.

Staff suggested adding 315 nonresident licenses.

Bruce Cull is a Game, Fish and Parks Commissioner. He said rising demand for out-of-state licenses shows a need for more resident involvement and outreach.

“We’re all about South Dakota number one, I mean obviously. I think we need nonresidents and we need to find a line between them. You know, they bring economic development, they bring a lot of things to us. The challenge I see is getting nonresident hunters and these organizations are doing that, I would challenge them to work with us to do whatever we can to increase our resident waterfowl hunters,” said Cull.  

Commissioners did not act on the proposal.

In reviewing proposed licensing numbers for small game, the commission proposed that quail, partridge, and grouse seasons align with pheasant season by extending them to Jan. 31.

The commission also proposed adjusting hunting hours for coyotes in Custer State Park to half-an-hour before sunrise. They said this is to allow coyote hunting throughout the day and night. They said by adjusting the season to start Jan. 1 and running through April 30 will help with predator population control.

The commission will make a final decision on adding nonresident waterfowl licenses and other recommendations in their April meeting.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.