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SD Game, Fish and Parks commissioners repeal raccoon hunting rule

NPS

Game, Fish, and Parks commissioners repeal a statewide ban on nonresidents using dogs to hunt raccoons.

This comes amid increased public interest in changing state law surrounding using hounds for hunting.

Game, Fish and Parks commissioners have seen an influx of hound-hunting-related petitions over the past year.

Organizations like South Dakota Houndsmen Association are behind the push. Patrick Weimer is the president of the group. He brought the proposal to allow nonresidents to use dogs during raccoon season.

“There is a lot of common misconception on how this is all drawn out. We really shot for this opportunity for nonresidents to be involved in what we do here with UKC, PKC hunting events. In these events, we’re not even allowed to carry a gun. We don’t hunt the raccoons per say, but in regards to how the competition is held, it is still considered a hunt," said Weimer. "So, we need the legal matters to be able to purchase the license and that type of stuff, for these nonresidents to be involved in this.”

Commissioners voted in unanimous support for the petition. It next heads to the legislative Rules Review Committee for final approval.

A license type that was passed by the legislature through Senate Bill 173 also received finalization by the commission. The license is for an antlerless elk hunting tag on a landowner’s own land. This license type can be utilized by members of the qualifying landowner-operators family who must own or lease a minimum of 240 acres for agricultural purposes within a prairie elk unit.

Other wildlife finalizations include a change to the elk raffle license structure. This change allows someone who previously held an elk raffle license the ability to win again with the continued limit of one elk license a year.

Stephanie Rissler is the chair of the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Commission. She voiced appreciation for the amount of interest from the public.

“Just a thank you to everybody who does take part and show up during the public hearing and the open forum. It is important that we hear from the public because we know that the decisions that we make impact the way you use recreational opportunities in your hunting and angling opportunities in our state,” said Rissler.  

Wildlife licensing numbers for antelope, spring and fall turkey will be proposed at the next commission meeting in July.

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.