South Dakota GFP Commission Proposes Furbearer Changes
CUSTER STATE PARK – The Game, Fish and Parks Commission is proposing a muskrat hunting season and expansion of bobcat hunting and trapping to portions of eastern South Dakota.
The muskrat hunting season was recommended as part of a new state law passed by the 2012 South Dakota Legislature. The law requires that the Game, Fish and Parks Commission propose rules to specify hunting seasons, hunting units, and other restrictions for the hunting or taking of muskrats necessary for the proper management of wildlife and to address damage caused by muskrats to roads and other infrastructure, as well as private property.
Under the proposal, the muskrat shooting season would run from April 1 through Aug. 31 statewide. Nontoxic shot would be required for shotguns. Only landowners or lessees on land they own or operate and state, county or township highway officials could shoot muskrats within road rights-of-way.
The proposed expansion of the bobcat season would allow a limited season in certain counties east of the Missouri River, with a limit of one bobcat per hunter or trapper. For 2012, that would include the counties of Brule, Buffalo, Charles Mix, Bon Homme and Yankton. Season dates would be Dec. 8-30.
In addition to those proposed changes, the Commission also proposed the following changes to trapping prohibitions:
Change the date that traps may be placed prior to the mink season to be consistent with other administrative rules (in effect, sunrise of opening day)
Clarify the dimensions of colony traps used for muskrat trapping, as round and square traps are now being used and current rule only addresses round traps
Require on public lands and public road rights-of-ways statewide, that body-grip traps with an opening greater than 36 square inches (larger than 160 Conibears) when used in conjunction with any bait, lure, or scent be recessed a minimum of seven inches in cubbies, baited box traps, or bucket traps
The recommend change regarding body-grip trap restrictions would address growing concerns from upland bird hunters that use dogs on public lands and public road right-of-ways. As fur prices have increased over the last several years, GFP has seen a significant increase in the number of baited box traps or bucket traps that are used on public lands and public road right-of-ways. These cubbies, baited box traps, or bucket traps are very effective at taking raccoons, opossum, and skunk; however, GFP had two reported cases this past year of dogs being unintentionally killed in those trap sets. By adopting the recommended changes, the possibility of unintentionally killing dog in those types is reduced.
More information and highlights from the May GFP Commission meeting are available online.
People who wish to provide written comments on these hunting proposals may do so until 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 6.
Comments may be mailed to Game, Fish and Parks Commission, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD, 57501 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org . Comments must have the sender's full name and address in order to become part of the public record.
Comments may also be made in person at the next GFP Commission meeting during a public hearing at 2 p.m. CDT on Thursday, June 7, at the Ramkota in Pierre.