Hundreds more deer hunters got their first-choice licenses in South Dakota this year

Capitol News Bureau
Changes Proposed For Deer Hunting Licenses

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The changes made by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission this year for the firearms deer-hunting seasons produced their desired effects.

Data released Monday showed that 33,260 residents received their first-choice licenses in the 2019 drawings. That’s a 2.4 percent increase from 2018.

Among nonresidents, there were 2,216 who received their first-choice licenses, down less than 1 percent.

The commission rolled all of the six main firearms seasons for deer — Black Hills, East River, West River, Custer State Park, refuge and muzzleloader — into a single drawing and allowed hunters to apply for up to two first-choices in separate seasons.

Previously the department allowed hunters to apply for a license for each of the six seasons. That meant a hunter with a great streak of luck could draw a license in each season.

The commission originally approved a new system of letting a hunter apply for one first-choice license. The Legislature’s Rules Review Committee wouldn’t accept it. The commission on its second try approved the two first-choices approach.

Here are the numbers for residents:

There were 52,980 unique applicants this year, down about 1 percent from 53,490 last year.

Hunters who succeeded in receiving their first choices of licenses totaled 33,260 this year, up from 32,482 last year.

Hunters who didn’t get their first-choice licenses this year numbered 14,238, down 13 percent from last year’s 16,391.

Hunters who applied for two first-choice licenses this year totaled 18,767, up nearly 2.4 percent from last year’s 18,332.

Fewer hunters received two first-choices licenses this year. There were 3,765 in 2019, down nearly 7.4 percent from 4,065 in 2018.

The numbers for nonresidents showed:

2,216 hunters received a first-draw license this year, down from 2,227 last year.

915 nonresidents applied for two first-choice licenses this year, up nearly 40 percent from 680 last year.

There were 26 nonresidents who received two first-choice licenses, up from 17 in 2018.

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