FROM SOUTH DAKOTA GF&P — South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed an experimental 2-tiered duck regulation for the 2021-2024 seasons.
To increase participation in duck hunting, the proposal would allow two options for hunters to choose from.
Tier 1 is the current rules package. Hunters would follow the current daily bag limits with all species specific regulations. For example, 2019 regulations allowed six ducks total with no more than five mallards (two of which could be hens), three wood ducks, three scaup, two redheads or two canvasbacks, and one pintail.
Tier 2, also known as the “3-Splash rule,” would allow hunters a bag limit of three ducks of any species and sex.
Hunters would choose either Tier 1 or 2 when they fill out HIP card info during license purchasing. They will be bound by their choice for the entire season. Hunters get the option of choosing their tier each season. For example, a new hunter who learns accurate “duck I.D.” after a couple of seasons can upgrade to Tier 1 in later years.
The proposal is a joint experiment with the Central Flyway, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in an effort to simplify regulations and recruit more duck hunters.
“Duck hunters have been in steep decline across the country and South Dakota is no exception,” said GFP senior waterfowl biologist, Rocco Murano. “The ability to identify ducks in the air has been identified as a barrier to duck hunter recruitment, retention and re-activation. This experiment will hopefully give new or potential duck hunters the confidence to hunt and not worry about accidentally breaking any laws. At the same time, this structure allows experienced duck hunters the option to continue following more liberal daily bag limits and hunt as they always have.”
Both Nebraska and South Dakota will have to approve the experiment, which would begin in the 2021-22 duck hunting season and run for a minimum of 4 years.
Individuals can comment online at gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions
To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).
The next GFP Commission meeting will be held Sept. 2-3, tentatively at the Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City.