Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

SD: Hunters Asked to Guard Against Grass Fires

PIERRE, S.D. – Much of South Dakota is extremely dry, and that
has created the potential for wildfires this fall.

The Game, Fish and Parks Department is asking for diligence on
the part of hunters going into fields this autumn to assist not
only in the prevention of fires, but also in detecting fires.

While some parts of western South Dakota have an elevated fire
danger, many areas of the state have had ample rain and wet

“Rains have brought us some very good cover with tall, lush
vegetation,” said Emmett Keyser, assistant director of the GFP
Wildlife Division. “This dense cover is wonderful for wildlife and
will make for some great hunting opportunities. However, as grass
and other woody plants freeze and dry, they will become more

Keyser noted that very few fires over the past decade have been
attributed to hunting activity.

“Hunters are among the best fire-prevention tools,” he said.
“Through their precautions, thoughtful actions and diligence in
keeping a watch on the horizon, we have those extra eyes in the
field that are so valuable in preventing wildfires.”

Keyser said hunters can be an active part of fire prevention by
adding the following preparations to their hunting plans:

Carry a cell phone with a list of emergency contact numbers, and
keep track of where good cell coverage access is availableStay in
close contact with private landowners to know what concerns and
restrictions are in place when hunting their landPark vehicles in
designated parking areas and away from tall vegetationEnsure that
catalytic converters and mufflers are in good repairWalk into
hunting areas and walk out, including retrieval of game whenever
possibleRestrict driving to established roads and trailsCamp only
in designated camping areas and restrict the use of
campfiresInclude extra water, a bucket, a shovel, and other fire
fighting equipmentHunt in the early morning when high humidity make
fires less likelyRestrict smoking to vehicles, and extinguish
cigarettes in the vehicle’s ashtray

“The key to fire safety is awareness,” Keyser said. “Hunters just
need to use common sense and be aware of the potential for
wildfires no matter what the conditions are. A responsible
citizen’s actions can make a huge difference in protecting both
property and wildlife resources.”


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