South Dakota Proposes Changes to Elk Seasons

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The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Commission has proposed changes for the 2010 Archery, Firearm and Prairie Elk Seasons.

The proposed Archery Elk Season would see a reduction in elk licenses available from 114 "any elk" and 71 "antlerless elk" licenses in 2009, to 96 "any elk" and 49 "antlerless elk" licenses this year.

The proposed Firearm Elk Season would reduce available licenses from 605 "any elk" and 760 "antlerless elk" licenses in 2009 to 495 “any elk” and 570 "antlerless elk" licenses in 2010.

The proposed Firearm Prairie Elk Season would see an increase in tags available from 45 "any elk" and 86 "antlerless elk" in 2009 to 50 "any elk' and 86 "antlerless elk" this year.

"While the aggressive harvest approach a few years ago reduced the overall elk population and reduced depredation complaints from ranchers and landowners, the department direction is to increase the elk population in some areas and that process includes the reduction of licenses another year," said GFP Chief of Terrestrial Resources Tom Kirschenmann.

The GFP Commission is also proposing the Black Hills Bighorn Sheep Season, which will retain 5have five "any bighorn sheep" licenses available, but extending the season from Nov. 30-Dec. 31.

The Commission will keep the season closed on mountain goats in South Dakota.

The Commission will take final action on the proposed Elk Seasons and Bighorn Sheep Season at its April 8-9 meeting at the Crossroads Hotel in Huron.

Information on season proposals is available on the GFP Web site at www.sdgfp.info under the headings "About Game, Fish and Parks" and "GFP Commission."

Residents who would like to provide written comments on the proposals may do so up until 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 7. The comments may be mailed to Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, S.D., 57501, or e-mailed to wildinfo@state.sd.us. All comments must have the sender's full names and address in order to be included in the public record.

Comments may also be presented in person at the GFP Commission meeting during the public hearing, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. CDT on Thursday, April 8.