SPEARFISH, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission might give trappers on the eastern side of the state an extra day for checking their snares and traps.
That would put all South Dakota trappers on the same schedule.
Right now trappers east of the Missouri River can’t go beyond two days without checking. Trappers west of the river can go three days.
The commission plans a public hearing October 3.
The panel split Friday whether to go forward with the proposal from the state Wildlife Division.
Keith Fisk is the division’s wildlife damage program administrator. He said a uniform rule would be easier to follow and trappers can check more often if they want.
“I liken it to the speed limit on the interstate,” Fisk said.
Commissioner Robert Whitmyre of Webster said most trappers in his area check traps daily.
“I just don’t think it helps the perception of trapping East River,” Whitmyre said. “I would prefer to not do it, because of the perception aspect.”
Commissioner Doug Sharp of Watertown said two days works now in eastern South Dakota.
“There’s a certain responsibility out there that everybody has to take when they do an activity,” Sharp said.
Commissioner Russ Olson of Wentworth defended trappers. He said they helped settle what became South Dakota and were here more than a century before pheasants were imported.
“We just constantly pick on these guys. We’re going to run them out of the business,” Olson said.
He noted California has just completely banned trapping:
“I think we’ve got a strong, rich heritage of trapping,” Olson said.
Commissioner Travis Bies of Fairburn said he knows three trappers who work along French Creek in the area of his ranch south of Rapid City. Bies said he’s seen “an explosion” of raccoons and skunks there.
“Our animals are not being over-trapped,” Bies said. He added, “I do support trapping. I think we need to encourage it, like our governor has.”