SD GFP decides to sell surplus game-production areas, accepts a DU donation and buys two more

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Six of South Dakota’s game-production areas will go up for public auction in the months ahead, the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission has decided.

The commission received comments from some members of the public Thursday who wanted the Mondry portion of the Pickerel Lake GPA in Day County left off the list.

Page 54 of Commission_Book_7.2021
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But the commissioners agreed Friday the 7.5 acres should be sold.

“I recognize these can be emotional issues,” commissioner Doug Sharp of Watertown said.

GFP official Paul Coughlin said the Mondry parcel, because of its size, had limited value as a public-hunting area. He said some adjoining landowners have used parts of the parcel for private storage.

Other game-production areas that will be sold are:

West Lake Poinsett, 40 acres, four miles southeast of Lake Norden in Hamlin County;

South Buffalo Lake East, 60 acres, 7.5 miles east of Eden in Marshall County;

Mallard Slough, 80 acres, 14 miles northeast of Huron in Beadle County;

North Sanborn, 51 acres, nine miles northeast of Woonsocket in Sanborn County; and

Schartner Ditch, 10 acres, seven miles northwest of Marion in Turner County.

Coughlin said the state Wildlife Division pays property taxes on game-production areas. He said the commission would need to formally change the designation of a GPA, such as Mondry, to another purpose for the property to become tax-exempt.

Proceeds from the six sales will be dedicated to future acquisition of other game-production areas.

Coughlin said the property must be sold at public auction for at least the appraised value. He said the department likely would contract it out.

Commissioner Sharp said disposal of surplus lands will continue to be an activity for the Wildlife Division and the state Parks and Recreation Division.

“Thirty, forty years ago, you might have got a property that made sense, and it doesn’t today,” Sharp said. “We’re getting calls on a regular basis throughout the state where we can expand GPAs.”

The commission then accepted the donation of a 40-acre parcel by Ducks Unlimited in Marshall County and agreed to purchase two small tracts in Yankton County.

The DU donation is 40 acres immediately east of the Renziehausen Slough GPA in Brown and Marshall counties.

The commission agreed to pay $7,600 to Wayne Diede of Yankton for 2.5 acres and to pay $38,000 to Michael Smidt and Kay Smidt of Yankton for 12.58 acres. The two parcels are land-locked between the James River and the Ulmer Wilderness game-production area.

Coughlin said the landowners have been getting to the parcel by crossing the game-production area on a public right of way along a north-south tree line. He said they use the ground for hay and some firewood. The property owners approached the department in November, according to Coughlin.

He said the Yankton County Pheasants Forever chapter has pledged $10,000 to help pay for the purchase.

“I think this is a great acquisition,” Sharp said. “It really rounds out the property and makes sense.”

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