2003 Elk Seasons Proposed With Preference Point-Only Option

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South Dakota’s 2003 firearms prairie, Black Hills firearms and archery elk seasons were recently proposed with additional licenses and a new option to apply only for a preference point.

"All three seasons would establish a provision to allow people who do not want to take a chance drawing a license for a particular year or years to purchase a preference point," said Regional Wildlife Manager John Wrede of Rapid City. "These applicants would simply apply for a unit with zero licenses and pay the usual nonrefundable application fee."

Another change from last year would allow a person who draws an antlerless elk license as a second choice to not lose their preference or eligibility for future elk licenses. Preference and eligibility would only be lost if an applicant was successful for his or her first choice in the first elk drawing.

The 2003 prairie elk season in Bennett County would again offer four units, 311A, 311B, 311C and 330A with modified season dates from last year.

Total prairie elk licenses available would increase from 22 any elk and 24 any antlerless to 38 any elk and 44 any antlerless.

Total available licenses for the 2003 Black Hills firearms elk season would increase from 496 any elk and 676 antlerless elk to 503 any elk and 1,076 antlerless elk licenses. Other changes would establish season dates in December for "any elk" licenses in Unit 409A and repeal the subunits of Units 402B and 403B to which hunting was restricted during the December portion of the season. Lastly, Unit 401B and 406B licensees to hunt in both units during the respective December seasons would be repealed.

Proposed changes for the Black Hills archery elk season would increase available licenses from 112 any elk and 39 antlerless elk to 127 any elk and 69 antlerless elk. Preference can be switched within season units, but not between different seasons. For example, preference for Black Hills elk cannot be used for prairie elk seasons or visa-versa.

A person that is eligible may apply for an elk license in more than one season, but there are still restrictions that limit the number of elk licenses a person can possess. Anyone drawing elk licenses for more than one season may only accept one of the licenses. Eligibility and preference will not be affected by any unaccepted elk license.

To comment, attend the public hearing at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 3 at The Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls, or write Game, Fish and Parks, 523 E. Capitol, Pierre, S.D. 57501. E-mail comments to [email protected]. Comments must include full name and address.