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Beaver Alert


Our petition effort (5/2/24) with SDGFP was not successful. Here is a link to an Argus Leader article on that: 

with SDGFP

However one Commissioner said she wanted to hear from folks about beaver. So we are asking people to write to the Commission to ask for a moratorium on beaver trapping in the Black Hills, reducing the statewide season to 5 month from 12 months and to create a Beaver Management Plan.  We will be advising folks to contact federal agencies to ask them  to request reductions in beaver trapping/hunting on their land. That campaign will be written up in the future.


We have  created three new petitions for rule making that are an  attempt to change SD GFP hunting seasons for beaver to allow less beaver trapping//hunting. These will be presented at the May 2nd, 2024 Commission hybrid meeting, in Custer State Park at the event barn.  We seek groups and individuals to endorse the petitions.  The petitions seek a moratorium on beaver trapping/hunting on the Black Hills National Forest for 3 years. Some cleaning up of geographical descriptions, asking for hunter/trapper to report back on number and location of beaver killed on some federal public lands and to change the season length outside the Black Hills Fire Protection DistrictThe 3 petitions are below. If you have limited time, just read the longer petition:

Shorter sized petition with less (2) protections

Medium sized petition with medium (3) protections

Lonter Petition with the maximum (4) protections

 They are very similar to the 2023 petitions (scroll down). Folks can write to SDGFP Commission or testify on 4/2/24 in favor of a 3 year moratorium on beaver trapping in the Black Hills National Forest and/or a reduction in the  statewide (except the Black Hills) beaver trapping season from 12 months to 5 months. Those are the key points in the petitions.

 For details on the 2024 May Commission meeting – 


In May 2023 Prairie Hills Audubon Society petitioned for rule change to seek a better beaver hunting/trapping rule, but the petitions were denied. 

SD GFP at the Commission meeting  on May 4th, 2023, decided to keep the old 2021 rule and did not make  changes to the season.   A hunting season is adopted as administrative rule. SDGFP arranged to do beaver winter cache surveys in the fall of 2023. The wood caches are the beavers floating food stores. The GFP staff presented a power point on this at the December 2023 Commission meeting and the audio can be listened to on the Commission Meeting Archive page and Nancy Hilding can send you a copy of the powerpoint ( 

We also petitioned for a  change to the beaver hunting/trapping season in late summer 2020 and were also denied then.

Longer 2023 beaver trapping/hunting petition with more season changes requested
Shorter 2023 beaver trapping/hunting petition with less season changes proposed:

For details on the 2023 Commission meetings  — here are links to 2023 May and June meeting alerts:.   

For June 2023


While we did not achieve our objectives at May 5th, 2024 meeting, the Commission may reconsider its’ season after seeing the population data on Black Hills beavers they collect in fall of 2023.  So please write to the Commission and ask for reform of the beaver management in SD and ask for river otters to be reintroduced to western SD. (River otters use habitat created by beaver. Increasing beavers increases opportunity for otters)

Currently trapping/hunting is allowed 365 days of the year statewide on private and public land except on Black Hills National Forest land and a subset of private land in the Black Hills. See administrative rule:    41:08:01:07 . SD has a law that allows folks with “conflict beaver” to call up SDGFP who will then allow them to kill the beaver (SDCL – 41-8-23). Staff will also come and kill beaver on request. Please ask SDGFP Commission for:

1. A moratorium on beaver hunting/trapping in the Black Hills Fire Protection District and 

2. Also ask SDGFP to reduce or eliminate the months of  beaver hunting/trapping from all other public land in SD, especially when the public land has a multiple use or wildlife management objective — to not allow more than 5 months of trapping/hunting. 

3. Folks should ask for 5 months of beaver trapping statewide (reduced from current 12 months) on private  land. 

4. Ask for GFP to create a management plan for beaver

5. Ask for GFP to prioritize non-lethal  control of “conflict” beaver

 Folks should ask SDGFP to create a beaver management plan, so SDGFP can address the importance of beavers as creators of habitat, and protectors of surface and ground water values and provide options  for non-lethal management of conflict beaver. The legislature was considering a bill (SB 73) in 2022 that would allow night hunting of beaver using night vision glasses (it passed).

We always provide information about contacting the SDGFP Commission and dates of the next Commission meeting in PHAS web site’s section on – Calendar events and deadlines

Written comments can be submitted at To be included in the public record of the next meeting, comments must include your complete name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of seventytwo hours before the meeting (not including the day of the meeting) (Usually Sunday night before midnight CT or MT depending on time zone of physical meeting)  If you miss that deadline your letter goes to record of the next meeting.  Unless you want to contact each Commissioner directly (no deadline)  –  
You can testify at GFP meetings which are held in person and by Zoom, generally at 2 pm on the Thursday of the meeting, in time zone of the meeting.

Also visit our Beaver Campaigns page

RECENT PAST- SDGFP  inventoried beaver winter caches in the Black Hills, using helicopters, in a jointly funded effort that started in summer or fall 2023. They also plan to find suitable habitat for beaver reintroduction in the Hills & have habitat improvement efforts.

HISTORIC   – OLD FACTS FROM 2021 & 2022- They planned to have a report or proposal on beaver trapping/hunting in the Black Hills at a fall Commission meeting in 2021.  They actually had it at the December 2021 Commission meeting & no rule change was suggested. They claim they needed $30,000 to fund study to inventory the Black Hills beaver.  TNC had suggested it can be done for less money. Commissioners failed to pass rule changes for Black Hills beaver in 2022.      

==============================================================================================================We are supporting the BHNF Northern Hills District’s beaver dam analog construction project in August and September 2024. Exact dates not  chosen yet.

 We ask folks to volunteer with the Forest Service to help build these dams. 

 For more info on 2023 BDA project or visit the recording of our March 26th 2024 meeting:


Sign Nationwide Petition on Beaver to Biden before 5/31/23

Letter to Biden from environmental groups on 2/27/23 – 8 pages with lots of information on the issue:

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