Deer Depredation Pool Deadline

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South Dakota resident deer hunters should note that application deadlines for the 2004-2005 deer depredation pool are close. Paper applications must be postmarked on or before Friday, Nov. 26. Online applicants have up to midnight on Monday, Nov. 29.

"Depredation hunts allow us to promptly respond to landowners who have large numbers of animals congregating on crops and forage, and when other methods of reducing or eliminating damage have proven ineffective," said Game, Fish and Parks Wildlife Damage Program Administrator Art Smith. "It is an especially valuable tool in cases of severe damage that cannot be controlled by any other method, as the hunt targets the specific animals causing damage."

Smith noted that the need for the pool of hunters has been closely related to winter weather. "In past years, a mild winter has meant few calls for a depredation hunt. During extremely harsh winters, the entire list has been contacted," he said.

When applying, applicants can choose one of four units. Each unit has a set number of positions available for which applicants are randomly drawn by computer. Once drawn, applicants are placed on a numbered list and only contacted by phone if needed. Contact sequence begins at the top of the list and moves downward as needed. Those who are unsuccessful in the original drawing for a pool will be refunded their $5 application fee. Once drawn for a depredation pool, the $5 fee is not refundable, even if an individual is not contacted for a hunt.

"Hunters who are called must be immediately available to participate in a depredation hunt," Smith said. "Because of this, it is recommended that applicants apply for the depredation unit in which they reside or live closest to in order to minimize travel time and other difficulties associated with the getting to a hunting area. If depredation hunts are necessary, they will be authorized between Dec. 1 and March 31.

To get a paper application, folks should enter the Game, Fish and Parks website at www.sdgfp.info, hold their cursor over the subheading "Licenses and Reservations, and then click on the link to "Print/View/Download Hunting Applications." Paper applications are also available at most Game, Fish and Parks offices. The fee was not printed on paper applications, so it should be noted that the correct cost of this permit is $5.

To apply online, click on the link to "Apply For Limited Issue Licenses" found under the same subheading, "Licenses and Reservations."

South Dakota residents must be at least 12 years of age or turn 12 before Jan. 1, 2005 to submit an application. Group applications of up-to-six applicants are allowed.