South Dakota Considering Spring Turkey Season

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A flourishing wild turkey population could mean more opportunities for hunters in the spring turkey season.

At their November meeting in Gettysburg, the S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Commission approved a proposal for a spring turkey hunting season that includes more tags and a special bonus season for residents. The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing at the commission’s next meeting, Dec. 6 and 7 at Pierre.

"Our turkey resource is doing well and improving," GFP Wildlife Division Assistant Director George Vandel told the commission. As a sign of that improvement, the proposal for the hunting season includes an additional 795 resident tags in the Prairie Unit, an increase of 7 percent.

The proposal also offers a residents-only bonus season in the Black Hills that would run from May 1 through May 18. "Residents will have the option to purchase two Black Hills gobbler tags and may begin hunting their second bird on May 1. This may also spread out the hunting pressure a little more," Vandel said. "We'd like to try this and see how it works. We know that the resource can handle it."

Other changes in the season include:

  • · Establishing new units in Hamlin County and Day and Codington counties and prohibiting hunting with rifles in those units.
  • · Adding western Brookings, Minnehaha, Hamlin and Brown counties to the area open for archery hunting.
  • · Combining Dewey and Ziebach counties into one unit.
  • · Revising the area description of the Lincoln County units to include all of Lincoln County.

The 2008 spring wild turkey season would be held from April 12 to May 18 in most units. License allocations in a few eastern South Dakota units are split to be valid in two successive hunting periods. The first of these split seasons will run from April 12 to April 30 and the late split season will run from May 1 to May 18.

The season will be the subject of a public hearing at the commission's next meeting planned for Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 at the Ramkota in Pierre. The proposal the commission will consider can be accessed at

Citizens who would like to provide written comments may do so until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5. Those comments may be mailed to Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501 or e-mailed to All comments must include the sender's full name and address in order to become part of the official record.

Comments may also be presented in person at the GFP Commission meeting during the public hearing which is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6.