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SD Game, Fish and Parks Commission Sept 2023 meeting

September 7, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - September 8, 2023 @ 12:00 pm

Results of the Commission meeting (now past)

The Commission killed the petition from the hound hunters to expand hound hunting to the rest of the Black Hills outside of Custer State Park.  This will temporarily good news, is not long term good news. A bunch of the Commissioners want to expand hound hunting to the rest of the Black Hills (outside of CSP) they just did not like this proposal and staff was worried it would result in cougar population dropping below their allowed interval of 200-300 lions.

The Commissioners indicated (I think) that they want to amend the Mountain Lion Plan to perhaps lower the allowed interval of 200-300 lions. or  make other substantive amendments to the plan. They don’t want to wait for the normal cycle for Plan Revision and want to do it before the 2024 season happens.  They maybe setting up working groups.

All PHAS/Hilding petitions were denied.

We ask people to increase writings to the Commission in favor of lions in the Black Hills and Prairies of SD.  We ask people to show up at Commission meetings and testify in favor of lions.

To watch the Zoom video of the Commission meeting.  The discussion of cougars by Commission  happened after the finalizations/open forum (which would be after at least 1 hour into the recording)

Passcode: iA9H+?rq
Here is Friday’s  meeting link –  they discussed the proposed shooting range in this video – at about 2/3s of the way through the meeting:

SD Game, Fish and Parks Commission Sept 2023 meeting, is Thursday-Friday September 8th and 9th. A hybrid meeting zoom and face-to-face in Watertown.  Deadline for written comments to be submitted in just before midnight CT on Sunday, Sept. the 3rd, if you want your comments in the public record of the September meeting, instead of October meeting.  You will be able to testify orally (by Zoom or in person) for 3 minutes normally at about 2 pm CT during  the “open forum”.

Here is the link to download documents related to the meeting.This web site also has the Zoom link and the Zoom passcode
To join via conference call, dial 1 669 900 9128 | Meeting ID: 939 1291 5359 | Passcode: 0565645
Here is the link to agenda for the SDGFP Commission meeting Thursday 9/7/23 -9/8/23
Here is the proposal that the hound hunters wanted and the Commission let move forward (final vote on Oct 5th in Deadwood) (pro-hound hunters)
Here are the petitions by PHAS (pro-cougar)


Prairie Hills Audubon Society has alerts on Cougars in several places
PHAS Cougar alert page
Go to our alert on July meeting – https://phas-wsd.org/event/sd-game-fish-and-parks-commission-meeting-for-july/ – for more details on proposals . We have link to recording of the meeting here..  In July they moved forward a rule change petition to allow some mountain lions in the Black Hills proper to be hunted with hounds.


At the Sept Commission meeting they will finalize (have public hearing and vote on) proposed changes to various fishing rules & antelope and turkey lottery draws.  They will further discuss proposed rules on mountain lion hunting – – staff’s rewrite of petitioner’s petition for rule making to allow hound hunting for lions on the Black Hills proper (not Custer State Park). Go to the July meeting alert on events calendar for more information.

At the July meeting, the staff of SDGFP did not propose to make any changes from current season (2022-23), but they said they might reconsider that at the September meeting, after studying the unintended consequences of  increased hound hunting. They seem to have made at least one change to the petitioners petition (not killing lactating females), but put it in the rule tied to that petition.

Some reasons to oppose any increase of hound hunting of lions in the Black Hills:

1)  Cruelty to lions and dogs;

2. Hound hunting is more effective at killing lions than “boot hunting”;

a) If hound hunting allowed, this means that the current harvest limit in the Black Hills  Unit of 60 lions or 40 females should simultaneously be lowered. GFP staff says the population remains within GFP desired population bracket, but this is because hunters never get much more than 25 female lions and season ends when its’ time is up.  If hunters actually reached the harvest limit, the population would crash;

b)  It also creates unfair competition for lions between boot hunters and hound hunters;

3. Hound hunting is not “fair chase”;

4. Hounds increase risk of trespass;

5. Lion hunting license fees are too small, especially when hound hunting practically guarantees a kill. There  needs to be two tiers for cost of licenses ,with hound hunters paying more than boot hunters;

6. Disturbance from hounds to other human users, livestock and/or wildlife. Especially in deep snow;

7. If lions are  chased but not captured, such as kittens which they are not allowed to kill & lactating females, which hound hunters in CSP can’t kill, it can add to stress during the winter, especially with heavy snows.

8. SDGFP needs a system where hound hunters who are working to flush lions for others, prove they have registered with federal public land manager as a guide and GFP should require they register with SDGFP as a guide,

9). On the prairie unit, we worry about dogs chasing lions in areas where there are no trees or rock outcroppings for lions to be “treed” upon, increasing likely hood of fight between lions and dog.


Written comments can be submitted at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/. 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 it goes to record of the next meeting.
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. It is requested that you register by e-mail with Liz.Kierl@state.sd.us before the meeting to let her know you want to testify at the open forum or hearing. However they normally ask if anyone not registered to comment wants to comment.

Unless you want to communicate directly with each Commissioner  (those comments will not be in the public record)–  https://gfp.sd.gov/commission/members/  (no deadline). You can see phones and home address at this link.  Here are likely e-mails for them.
The two new commissioners  e-mails likely are (but we are not sure):
Jim.White@state.sd.us or James.White@state.sd.us, Bruce.Cull@state.sd.us



September 7, 2023 @ 1:00 pm
September 8, 2023 @ 12:00 pm