PIERRE – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission held its September meeting at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Watertown Sept. 7-8.


Drawings of antelope and turkeys

The committee has limited the number of applications a person can submit during the third drawing from up to five applications to one for Prairie Spring Turkey, Fall Turkey, and Prairie Antelope. This creates consistency between turkey and antelope pulls, creates more opportunities for more unique hunters, and reduces the amount of licenses returned.

Finish the taste

The Council has revised the language to clarify what can be used as bait, including traps, trawls, dive nets, lift nets, and throw nets, and their associated limits.

Lake sturgeon catch and release season

The commission has opened the Sturgeon Lake catch and release season on Big Stone Lake. The season runs from June 16 to April 14.

Hop, trap, fixed line and float line licenses

The Commission agreed to include the cost of resident nets, traps and fixed line licenses with other fishing license fees. The council also clarified that float line fishing is permitted under a fixed line/float line licence.

Fisheries management for landowners

The authority explained that the resident is not in violation of any daily fishing season or possession limit in an artificial water body on land owned by the resident, provided that the resident owns the entire course of the water body.

Dip nets to catch invasive carp and coarse fish

The committee voted to allow the fishing of carp and invasive rough fish with dip nets.

Lake francis paddle bag

The commission has increased the number of resident paddlefish tags in the rip/shooting season on Lake Frances from 350 to 500.


The council rejected a proposal to allow the harvesting of rainbow trout by legal spearing from reservoirs within the Black Hills Fish Management Area. The committee cited concerns about rainbow trout populations due to denial.

Mountain Lion Season – Expanded use of hunting dogs

The commission rejected a proposal to expand the use of hounds during the mountain lion season. The proposal would have allowed the use of dogs within the Black Hills Fire Protection District to residents only with a harvest limit of 12 cats: six males and six females. The department will re-evaluate the mountain lion management plan and make recommendations next fall for the 2024/2025 season.

The 2023-24 mountain lion season will continue without any changes.


One-day fishing license for non-residents

The committee proposed canceling the one-day fishing license option for non-residents. Since 2020, there has been a significant rise in non-resident single-day hunting licenses, as individuals use this license to remain exempt from habitat stamp requirements. Three-day and annual fishing licenses will still be available to non-residents.

Find habitat

The Board proposed modifying the licenses provided through the Hunt for Habitat withdrawal package. Suggested licenses available through the lottery include:

  • Custer State Park Bison Cup
  • That is, deer
  • Any pack deer and any elk

Any antelope licenses will be removed from the previous three license packages and two any deer licenses will be added to allow for two additional licensing options, for a total of nine licenses issued.

Free entrance to the park and fishing

The committee proposed removing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day from the park’s entry permit and exempting from the hunting license. Usage on these two days, by those seeking free entry, was minimal. Mother’s Day weather can be challenging and many individuals have purchased park passes and/or hunting licenses by Father’s Day.

The traditional open house weekend, the weekend before Memorial Day, will remain open for both free park admission and free fishing.

Public comments are accepted

To hear discussion of these proposals, audio from the meeting is available through South Dakota Public Broadcasting and will soon be available on the GFP website as part of the meeting archive.

To view these proposals in their entirety, visit gfp.sd.gov/commission/information.

In order for comments to be included in the public record and considered by the Committee, comments must include full name and city of residence and be submitted by 11:59 PM CST on October 1.

The next GFP committee meeting in Deadwood will be October 5-6.

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