Saturday, November 28, 2015

South Dakota GFP Reminds Hunters to Register for Winter Depredation Hunts

PIERRE, S.D. – As winter approaches, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) reminds resident hunters of a unique opportunity that could exist later this winter.

GFP’s Wildlife Damage Management Program assists landowners with wildlife depredation abatement techniques. When other methods are ineffective, GFP may utilize hunters to help reduce damage caused by wildlife.  

“Winter depredation hunts are a valuable management tool that GFP uses in some situations to alleviate wildlife damage to landowners’ stored-feed supplies,” said wildlife damage program administrator, Keith Fisk. “Depredation hunts are largely dependent upon the severity of the winter, snowfall accumulations and the number of animals involved.”  

GFP has not used any depredation hunts the past few years due to mild winter conditions and lower deer and turkey populations. If extreme winter conditions cause wildlife to congregate near farmsteads and livestock feeds, depredation hunts may occur.

South Dakota residents may register for potential depredation hunts for deer, antelope and turkey starting  Dec. 1, 2015. Hunters can register (free of charge) athttp://gfp.sd.gov/hunting/depredation-hunts.aspx and are encouraged to register for counties near their home or within close driving distance.

“Hunters may register for a maximum of 10 counties,” said Fisk. “Depredation hunts are often time-sensitive and winter weather can sometimes make travel difficult for participating hunters. For a successful hunt, GFP needs participating hunters to be available at the hunt location almost immediately.”  

Once registered, hunters are then put into a random drawing to determine eligibility once a depredation hunt is authorized.  

Winter depredation hunts focus on assisting landowners with wildlife damage, but also can provide hunters with another opportunity after traditional hunting seasons are closed.  

For more information, visit the GFP website or call 605.223.7660.