Changes Proposed To Elk Application Process

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A recent Game, Fish and Parks Commission proposal is intended to enhance the state’s elk application process.

"The basic goal of the 2005 elk drawing procedure proposal would be to improve and simplify the drawing process while ensuring that the opportunity to apply for, and receive, elk licenses is fair to all state residents," said License Office Supervisor Scott Simpson of Pierre. "This would include successfully distributing all elk licenses in the first two drawings as well as eliminating the need and costs for a third drawing. Another benefit would be preventing anyone from drawing more than one elk license in the first drawing, which would all but eliminate the potential for ‘any elk’ (bull) tags being available in the second drawing when eligibility requirements would be removed."

Details of the first drawing would include:

* Applicants could use one application to submit one choice for each of the seven available elk seasons. A nonrefundable fee of $5 would have to be submitted for each season applied for by the applicant. An example would be if seven seasons are represented on one application, $35 would have to accompany the application.

* The draws would be conducted in a predetermined order based on odds for success from the previous year’s application process (total applications vs. permits available).

* Once an applicant draws a tag, he/she would not be eligible in subsequent drawings, but would receive a preference point for each of the seasons applied for (this eliminates the possibility of drawing two elk tags in the same year and thus eliminate any leftover "any elk" tags).

* Successful applicants would be sent a certified letter notifying them of the number of days they have to submit the full permit fee.

* If payment is not received after the certified letter has been accepted, the applicant would lose any accumulated preference, but would still be eligible to apply in subsequent years.

"Any leftover elk licenses for the second drawing should only be ‘antlerless elk’ licenses," Simpson said.

If a second drawing is needed, details would include:

* Applicants may make up to two choices (first and second) in each season for licenses remaining.

* The full fee for the most expensive license applied for must accompany the application (all remaining should be cow tags).

* The $5 application fee would also be required for the second drawing.

* Drawing sequence will follow the same format as the first drawing.

* Successful applicants would be mailed a tag; unsuccessful applicants would be refunded the amount of the license fee submitted.

* All state residents who do not have an elk license for the current season would be eligible to apply for the second drawing.

* Preference points do not apply to the second drawing.

"The goal is to make the first two drawings functional in selling all the elk licenses so a third drawing would never be needed," Simpson reiterated. "However, if a third drawing were to be required, the rules in place would govern that drawing."

To comment on the proposals, people can attend the public hearing at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 7, at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, or write Game, Fish and Parks, 523 E. Capitol, Pierre, S.D. 57501. E-mail comments can be sent to wildinfo@state.sd.us. Comments must include full name and address.