Resident Big Game Depredation Application Available

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Applications for South Dakota’s 2005-06 resident big game depredation pool are now available. Paper applications must be postmarked on or before Friday, Nov. 25. Online applicants have up to midnight on Monday, Nov. 28.

"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 Wildlife Damage Management Administrator Art Smith of Pierre. "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."

The depredation drawing is used to establish a pool of hunters who can be called upon for special hunts intended to minimize damage to private crops or forage. The need for the pool of hunters is usually closely related to winter weather - a mild winter has meant few calls for a depredation hunt, and during some extremely harsh winters, everyone on the list has been contacted.

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. The units are broken down based on management regions for the Division of Wildlife. Region One is most of western South Dakota, Region Two the Missouri River area, Region Three the southeastern portion of the state, and Region Four the northeast portion of the state.

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.

A new feature for this year’s depredation hunt will also allow the applicant to choose which species they are interested in hunting. When completing the depredation application, the applicant can choose one or more of the choices that include deer, turkey and antelope.

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 refunded whether or not an individual is 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, 2006 to submit an application. Group applications of up-to-six applicants are allowed.