Year-end camp numbers, archery deer, changes in deer seasons | Bot To News

PIERRE, SD – At their December meeting, the Game, Fish and Parks Commission asked for updates on state tourism and license sales numbers and plans and progress to deal with aquatic invasive species.

Camp numbers through Nov. 30 are a 1% improvement on 2021’s impressive numbers, although the number of visitors to the state is down 7% from last year.

Industry leaders have often stressed that 2021 is somewhat outlier due to fewer options and higher budgets for travelers during the pandemic.

“We were thinking that sooner or later our numbers came back a little bit, and the attendance did a little bit for us,” Parks and Recreation Director Scott Simpson said.

In revenue-generating areas, hunting license sales receipts fell about 2% from November 30 last year, although some key areas saw improvements, such as a nearly 25% increase in resident small game licenses. Compared to the 5-year average of license sales, 2022 is a 3.7% improvement.

The Parks division, which drives revenue mainly through annual and daily passes and camping services, saw revenue decline 1% from last year, though some areas saw steeper declines: Seven-day passes at Custer State Park fell 26%. For example.

“When we look at some things, we know we have to focus on annual pass sales and Custer State Park’s seven-day sales, and when we look at what that bottom line number is, what’s the total revenue in the parks? Division, we’re within 1%. ,” Simpson said, adding that despite small declines in revenue, no budget cuts would have to be made.

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Visualization of visitation data this year compared to last decade.

Contribution / Sports, Fish and Parks

While total prevention is nearly impossible, GFP programs focus on individual responsibility for aquatic invasive species, spreading slowly

Heading into a legislative session that could see more questions from representatives about whether the department is doing all it can to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species, Jake Davis, the department’s statewide aquatics program administrator, provided a year-end update. A plan to combat zebra mussels and other unwanted guests.

“Ultimately, it comes down to each surface water user,” Davis said, adding that recliners follow rules like “clean, drain dry” and pull their boat plugs.

Department numbers indicate that 96% of users have complied with these guidelines. The state’s most well-known invasive mollusc, zebra mussels, is On the 29th, clear lake was hit and spread.

While the department has struggled to staff watercraft research sites, Davis doesn’t believe throwing money at the problem will help, with information presented to a legislative committee in October indicating an inability to expand research sites with 31 of 53 filled positions. Slows the march of aquatic invasive species.

“Essentially every state that has them continues to have new detections. One important thing to note about these states is that they all have aquatic invasive species programs, but they all spend different amounts of money, in some cases millions of dollars,” Davis said. Going forward, in each case, we see new annual epidemics.”

Image of zebra, invasive mussels.jpg

Zebra mussels are usually small and can be identified by the distinctive lines on their shells. If not, zebra mussels can reproduce quickly, damaging waterways and boats and clogging water treatment facilities and power plants.

Contribution / US Geological Survey

However, as the department focuses more on education, marketing costs have almost halved this year to $62,000. These communications include e-mail reminders, highway signs during peak tourist hours, and ads looped on a few dozen gas station televisions across the state.

Questions about whether the increased funding over the past few years to combat aquatic invasive species is worth it will certainly be asked by legislators this session.

“A limit has yet to be found,” Davis said, pointing to Minnesota, where 31 lakes were infested with new invasive species by 2021 despite $10 million in annual spending.

Commission approves pet shelters, archery deer, recommends deer translocations

At a Dec. 8 and 9 meeting in Pierre, the commission made progress on allowing pets in certain department camping facilities and recommending changes to the archery deer and deer seasons.

For a fee of $10 per group per stay, pets are now allowed in some cabins or suites at the campgrounds.

“Due to recent changes in the way people travel and what society is asking for, we believe this program to allow pets at some of our facilities for a moderate fee will meet the expectations of travelers,” said Scott Simpson, The. Director of Parks and Recreation with the department, summed it up.

To help make accommodations for people with certain allergies, the commission agreed that a percentage of cabins and cabins in each area would be pet-free. Exact limits are not determined and are flexible based on location.

The commission also considered changes to archery deer and deer seasons in the state that would limit the number of nonresident hunters on public land due to the recent popularity of archery hunting.

During the archery antelope season, the commission recommended limiting nonresident public and private land licenses to a total of 450, about 25% less than the turnout in previous years.

Similar changes were recommended for the archery deer season, which would limit nonresident public and private land licenses to 2,200.

In both cases, private land licenses are off-limits to residents. The proposed changes will be finalized at the commission’s March meeting next year, which will include a public hearing.

As for the last possible rule changes, the commission unanimously rejected three citizen petitions for rule changes.

One of those petitions originated from Pat Federle, a Mitchell man who believes the deer season should be shortened to reduce the harmful effects of roadside hunting in conjunction with the height of the deer rust season.

Tom Kirshenman, the department’s director of wildlife, argued that the Dec. 1 start of the season as expected by the feds would mean harsher winter weather and fewer experiences for hunters.

The ten-day proposal, Kirchenmann added, would also lose Thanksgiving weekend travelers, and in some years, the federal deer season will have only one weekend, he acknowledged.

The Commission unanimously rejected the petition. Two other petitions, including expanding opportunities to harvest Asian carp and adding an option for a third line in open waters, were unanimously rejected.

Jason Harvard A

Report to the United States

Corps reporter covering state politics in South Dakota. Contact him



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