South Dakota Big Game Coalition
Many hunters in our great state of South Dakota are very passionate about big game hunting. Anyone who has hunted any type of big game out of state knows how blessed we are, some would acknowledge we are perhaps even a bit spoiled. We have good numbers and a wide variety of big game species; relatively good draw odds and a wide array of tags and seasons to apply for. But, over the past decade it seems things are being pushed in a different direction. For those that that don't follow the detailed proceedings of our GFP commission, there are some major changes being discussed. Many of which I (and others I know) strongly disagree with. We're taking the time to write this hoping there are enough people that share our thoughts so that we can come together and establish a voice at the commission meetings. The goal would be to protect the fine big game opportunities we have and act as a counterbalance to many of the other forces that seek to push other agendas.
Over the last 10 years or so our seasons have gotten longer, game numbers have declined and technology has been creeping further and further into our primitive weapons seasons. We'd like to see resident hunters be thought of before nonresidents; wildlife management that is not influenced by government politics or special interest groups and work to keep technology out of our primitive weapons seasons. There is a lot of influence on the GFP commission and hunters seem to be a very small part of that influence. Like any group, not all hunters will agree on every issue, but we're hopeful that we can find enough common ground to join together. To help facilitate this goal, we would like to get a person or two in each area of the state to attend the commission meetings in their area to voice our opinions. These individuals would have to be well spoken and knowledgeable enough about the laws and game populations in their area to answer the questions of the GFP commission.
Here are just a few of our ideas,
1. Elk Population, Preference Point System Changes, Significant Landowner Tag Distribution Changes 2. Fight back against the Grazing Commission representation to offset the push for reduced elk populations on public lands 3. East River Deer season dates/length changes (reduced back to 9 days) 5. Work to significantly reduce NR pressure on heavily pressured public lands 6. Eliminate all non-depredation deer hunting after December 31. 7. Push for more proactive management, instead of reactive management e.g. continuing to issue an overabundance of Cow, Doe, Antlerless big game licenses post die offs.
At this time the elk contingency program is a hot topic. We are late on fighting this one but if we take our voice to the commission maybe we can push back hard enough to get rid the contingency plan all together.
With the dry conditions in central SD I'm sure there will be some large areas of EHD. This is another current concern.
If your law abiding SD sportsman or sportswoman our opinion counts with us . Hope we can rally together for a good cause.