PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Emails to the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission show a wide difference over a plan to restrict when nonresidents may use public lands for archery deer hunting.
South Dakota archers backed the changes that take effect this fall, while hunters from outside the state opposed it.
Nonresidents seeking archery deer licenses would have to apply no later than August 1 to be eligible to use public lands, including walk-in areas leased from private landowners, for the 2019 season. The cutoff date would be April 1 for the 2020 season.
Nonresidents also couldn’t use public lands until October 1 starting this fall for archery deer hunts. The Legislature’s Rules Review Committee decides Monday whether to approve the changes.
The commission’s decisions last month to pass the changes stirred up opinions on both sides of the fence.
Andrew Fanaras of Haverhill, MA, wrote: ” I cannot believe that a state’s game commission would even consider changing the current season less than 3 months before it is set to open. As a travelling bow hunter I have seen states all across the country propose changes to an upcoming season but it happens in the winter! Many, like myself, plan these hunts at least 6 months, if not a year, in advance.”
Kelly Recker of Ottawa, Ohio, commented: “Making a change to the start of deer season this close to opening season puts hunters that have to plan in advance time off work in a difficult position. It’s my opinion that changing the start date should be postponed until next season. Many hunters have already made their 2019 hunting arrangements with work and family, including myself.”
Ross Vander Vorste of Berkeley, California, said he previously lived in South Dakota.
“As an out-of-state hunter, I had planned to come back to archery hunt the opening weekend on public lands with my hunting friends, who remain in-state residents, a tradition that we hoped we could continue for many years. I feel that benefits of allowing out-of-state archery hunters on public lands on the opening week far outweigh the negatives to in-state archery hunters,” Vander Vorste wrote.
He added, “South Dakota relies on the money out-of-state hunters bring in and preventing these hunters from accessing public lands will hurt South Dakota’s reputation as a great state for hunters as well as the local business in those areas.”
Nathan Mielke of Breezy Point, Minnesota, saw it this way. “This proposal is a joke, majority of the states do not delay nonresidents hunting because there is no meaningful impact on the population from nonresident archers,” Mielke wrote.
Mielke added, “There is no reason to delay it because of a few resident hunters who want all of the public land to their selves. The majority of public land in western South Dakota are a public resource owned by the federal government. Limiting the use of this land to nonresidents is a travesty. “
South Dakota hunters expressed different views. For example, Tim Pravecek of Winner said the changes didn’t go far enough.
“I would like to see a later start for non-residents and earlier application deadline for non-residents. I have bow hunted the public land at the mouth of the White River and can tell of experiences 15-1 ratio of non-residents to residents,” Pravecek said.
Peter Sanchez of Fort Pierre offered this: “I believe for non-residents the start date should be moved back until around the last weekend of September or the 1st of October, as the season used to be. This would allow time for residents to hunt before non-residents ran all over every piece of public.”
Sanchez continued, “Non-residents are especially present in the northwestern and southwestern parts of the state, as there are large numbers of mule deer on public land in these areas. However, soon after the first weekend of the season deer are pushed onto private land and tough for everyone to access.”
Mike Hurvig of Rochester, Minnesota, said he has numerous friends and relatives including members of his immediate family who still live in South Dakota.
“The proposal to delay the non-resident archery start date on public lands is not a good idea. Not only do we pay A LOT for the license to begin with, but I would bet that more than half of the non-residents are coming back to hunt with residents (I go with my family – the only times we get to spend much time together is hunting deer and pheasants),” Hurvig wrote.
He continued, “I go with my father who does not have many more hunting years, my brother, a family friend, and my brother’s college roommate – all of whom are South Dakota residents. Now I will no longer be able to partake in the archery hunt with them unfortunately.”
Hurvig signed his comment, “One less non-resident paying for an archery license in 2019.”