PIERRE, S.D. – During the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ (GFP) Commission meeting this week, enhancements were made to an existing proposal to give all deer hunters a chance of obtaining their most preferred deer license more often. The existing proposal was reverted back to the GFP Commission by the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee on Nov. 20 for more work.
Enhancements to the existing proposal include:
1. Preference points for the combined deer drawings will be free to youth age 15 or younger during the calendar year when the preference point is acquired.
2. All first-time youth hunters, age 15 or younger during the calendar year of the drawing, would receive a bonus preference point upon submitting an application for any of the four limited-draw deer seasons during the combined drawing (East River Deer, West River Deer, Black Hills or Muzzleloader). This bonus preference point would only be received to first time youth applicants.
a. Example: A first time youth hunter applying for a West River Deer license at 12 years of age would receive one preference point for submitting an application. If unsuccessful, they would receive an additional point for being unsuccessful and have two for the following year. When they submit an application the following year they would then have two preference points at age 13.
b. Parents or guardians are reminded that youth can begin accumulating preference points at ages 10 and 11. Any preference point fees previously set for these ages would also be waived.
3. Nonresident deer hunting opportunities would be pushed back to the fifth draw, giving resident deer hunters an increased opportunity to acquire multiple licenses ahead of nonresidents.
“With the current proposal and these enhancements, we are putting youth first and focusing on the retention of our resident hunters. Approximately 3,800 deer hunters who would have been sitting on the sidelines as an unsuccessful applicant under the current system, would now have an opportunity to take to the field for their preferred deer hunting season on an annual basis,” stated Commissioner Russell Olson of Madison. “This approach will put more individual deer hunters in the field, allowing families and hunting groups to maintain their hunting traditions more often while giving others a chance to develop theirs.”
“We continue to emphasize that with the current proposal and with these enhancements, every deer hunter who submits an application in the first drawing will have an increased chance of drawing their preferred deer license before anyone draws two or more,” stated Commissioner Gary Jensen of Rapid City.
The GFP Commission will finalize these actions on Jan. 10-11, 2019, at the RedRossa Convention Center in Pierre. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. CST. Individuals can submit their comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or by sending them to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.