The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission is set to be presented, this week, with a set of options to address what many hunters say is a big problem with nonresident archers.
South Dakota’s lack of restriction on the number of nonresidents allowed to hunt deer in the state using a bow and arrow hunting groups, such as the South Dakota Bowhunters, say is leading to resident hunters being crowded out. The problem is especially acute in large tracts of public land that are home to mule deer.
On the Commission’s May meeting agenda is a proposal labeled Peer Licenses and Access Permits Residents and Nonresidents. The proposal sheet is structured a little differently than most in that instead of providing a recommendation from GFP staff, it lays out a set of options for addressing three issues related to archery hunting in the state with a particular focus on nonresidents. The meeting is scheduled to take place in Custer State Park on May 2-3.
The first issue looks at how many archery licenses are issued in the state. Right now, hunters have the option to buy two archery hunting licenses licenses per year one good for the west side of the river, one good for the east side of the river. Or a hunter can buy one license that’s good for the whole state. In either case the licenses are good for one deer of either sex for mule deer or whitetailed deer. There are no limits on the number of licenses issued. The first option on the proposal sheet would be to get rid of the option to buy both an East River and West River archery deer hunting license and limit all hunters to one statewide “any deer” license.
Another issue, the Commission will be presented options on is limiting the number of nonresident archers allowed to hunt in the state. The proposal sheet lists four options ranging from putting a hard cap on the number of nonresident licenses issued to only limiting the number of licenses available for use on publicly owned land.
The final issue on the proposal sheet deals with the state’s limited access archery hunting units.
There are four areas of the state that require archery hunters to get a separate permit before they hunt there. The idea is to limit the number of people hunting in the units each day but the total number of permits issued through the season is unlimited. The proposal sheet suggests that GFP could determine a fixed number of access permits available to residents and then use a percentage of that number to figure out how many permits would be made available to nonresidents.