South Dakota changes deer license allocation

South Dakota deer

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South Dakota deer license allocation is about to drastically change. This week, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission accepted a proposal that would change how resident deer hunters obtain their hunting licenses. The new procedure, if approved, would require hunters to select “one of seven major firearms deer hunting seasons as their only choice for the first license draw every year” and drawings for the Black Hills, West River, East River, Custer State Park, Refuge, special buck and muzzleloader buck would be drawn on the same day, the Capitol Journal reports.

Why? Because, as South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Special Projects Coordinator Kevin Robling explained, the goal “is to get more hunters their preferred license more often.”

“Supply is not meeting demand,” Robling said during the commission’s meeting earlier this week.

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According to the Capitol Journal, this is how the other drawings will be handled after the first choice drawing is done.

  • The second drawing will only be open to hunters unsuccessful in the first drawing.
  • The third drawing is open to resident hunters who want to apply for any remaining available licenses. This means some successful hunters will have more than one tag to fill. Nonresidents can apply for “any licenses left over from existing 8-percent nonresident license allocation in the West River and Black Hills regions.”
  • The fourth drawing “would pool any remaining licenses together” and be open to both residents and nonresidents.

The proposal is mainly geared toward changing how limited-issue licenses are distributed. Preference points will still be awarded for all seven licenses that would be affected by the change should the proposal be approved. Archery and muzzleloader deer hunting licenses for antlerless deer are not considered limited-issue.

There will be two separate public hearings on the proposal before the final vote in early October.


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