South Dakota Depredation Pool Now Available

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Applications for South Dakota's 2006-07 resident big game depredation pool are now available. This is a no-cost program that is only available online.

"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 Art Smith, wildlife damage management administrator for the S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Department. "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 hunter registration is used to establish pools of hunters who can be called upon for special hunts intended to minimize damage to private crops or forage. The need for the hunter pools is usually closely related to winter weather - a mild winter has meant few calls for a depredation hunt, and during extremely harsh winters, entire lists have been contacted.

One of several new features for this year's depredation hunt application is that hunters can choose the county, or counties in which to hunt, as well as which species they are interested in hunting. The species are deer, turkey and antelope. Another new feature is that there is no fee associated with applying for the depredation pool. Applications for the depredation hunt are only available online.

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

To apply, interested hunters need to enter the Game, Fish and Parks Web site at www.sdgfp.info, and then navigate to the "What's New" section or go to www.sdgfp.info/Wildlife/hunting/Applications/Index.htm. Paper applications will not be available for this season. Hunters without Internet access can register with the help of a friend or relative who has Internet access or they can get help at a GFP office.