In South Dakota county, big-game violations frustrate law enforcement

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. — A sheriff in central South Dakota says big game violations in the county’s popular hunting area are getting out of control.

Jerauld County Sheriff Jason Weber told the Mitchell Daily Republic that the influx of visitors looking to hunt big game has led to a number of the recent violations.

“Jerauld County has always had a lot of big game violations, so it’s not anything new, but I’m getting very sick of people that come into Jerauld County thinking they can do whatever they want,” Weber said. “It’s not all people from out of the county but, man, it sure is a lot.”

Over two days in November, three people were charged with hunting without licenses, and two were charged with hunting out of season.

One person is accused of shooting and abandoning a buck after realizing it had been shot before.

According to court documents, a couple was cited for allegedly shooting two bucks without proper licensing. A conservation officer had noticed a deer in the back of a truck with tags on the wrong leg, the documents showed.

In another case, two men are alleged to have knowingly shot mule deer during closed season.

Andy Alban is an administrator for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Law Enforcement Program. Alban said it’s common to see a spike in violations during a weekend or opening day for hunting season because of more conservation officers on duty. Both factors apply to the cases recorded.

Alban said there have been about 100 big game violations statewide during this year’s fall deer season, which is a normal amount.

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