Several changes for the fall 2013 duck and goose hunting seasons have been proposed by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission.
Those changes include increasing the daily limit for scaup from four to six, as well as increasing the possession limit for ducks, coots and mergansers from two times the daily limit to three times the daily limit.
The daily limit for ducks would be six and may be comprised of no more than five mallards (including no more than two hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, two pintails and one canvasback.
The duck season would be divided into four separate zones, as it has been during the past several years. Season dates within these zones would be:
High Plains: Oct. 12-Jan. 16
Low Plains North: Sept. 28-Dec. 10
Low Plains Middle: Sept. 28-Dec. 10
Low Plains South: Oct. 12-Dec. 24
Proposed changes for the goose season include increasing the daily bag limit for Canada geese from three to five, increasing the daily bag limit for white-fronted geese from one to two, modifying the white-fronted goose season from 86 to 72 consecutive days beginning the last Saturday in September, and increasing the possession limit for geese from two times the daily limit to three times the daily limit.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's framework for the white-fronted goose season provides the option of having an 86-day season with a one-goose daily limit or a 72-day season with a two-goose daily limit. GFP staff have received comments from hunters indicating that this recommended change would provide additional harvest opportunity for hunters and establish a season that overlaps with the peak migration of white-fronted geese through South Dakota.
The season for light geese would run Sept. 28-Dec. 22; white-fronted geese Sept. 28-Dec. 8; Unit 1 Canada geese Oct. 1-Dec. 16; Unit 2 Canada geese Nov. 2-Feb. 14; and Unit 3 Canada geese Jan. 11-19.
The waterfowl season proposals will be finalized at the Aug. 1-2 GFP Commission meeting, which will be at the Event Center in Watertown. To view the full proposals on those seasons, go to gfp.sd.gov/agency/commission/default.aspx and look under the "rule proposals" heading.
To comment on any of the proposals, send a letter to SDGFP Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments will be taken until 5 p.m. July 31. To be included in the public record, include your full name and city of residence.
To comment in person on these proposed rule changes, the GFP Commission will host a public hearing at its meeting at 2 p.m. Aug. 1.
Big-game depredation hunts proposed
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission has proposed a change to the format for big-game depredation pool applications.
Interested big-game hunters may apply each year for a spot in a pool of hunters who may be called upon to help alleviate depredation on agricultural land caused by big-game animals. While hunters could apply for an unlimited number of counties in the past, the change proposed by the commission will limit hunters to a maximum of 10 counties.
In recent years, it has been difficult for GFP to find registered individuals willing to respond to GFP's request for a depredation hunt in an adequate timeframe, primarily because of weather conditions or the distance needed to travel. By limiting the number of counties to a maximum of 10 counties per individual, GFP anticipates that individuals that enter themselves for depredation hunts will participate at a higher level when called upon.
Last winter, there were 147 hunting permits issued for turkey and 195 for deer. The GFP Commission also finalized provisions for potential elk depredation hunting seasons with no changes from 2012.
Unlike deer and turkey depredation hunts, unsuccessful elk license holders are used if elk depredation hunts are needed. In 2012, no elk depredation permits were issued.