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PIERRE, S.D.—While recent years were noted for drought, this summer much of South Dakota has enjoyed timely rains. However, hunters still need to be watchful for fire danger when they take to the fields this fall.

With the start of the antelope hunting season on Saturday, many hunters will be in the fields. Much of the antelope range is in the West River portion of South Dakota and not all of that terrain has benefited from rain this summer.

“There are still some dry areas out there,” said Emmett Keyser, assistant director of the Wildlife Division of the S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Department. “Hunters need to take precautions to avoid starting a wildland fire.”

Hunters can guard against starting a wildland fire by following some simple precautions:
• Equip vehicles with the tools and water needed to fight a fire.
• Extinguish cigarettes with water or dirt or use an ashtray.
• Limit vehicle traffic to designated areas.
• Never park a vehicle over dry grass.

GFP Conservation Officers will be in the field this weekend watching for signs of fire as well as hunting violations. Hunters are also a valuable resource when it comes to spotting and reporting fires.

“Hunters need to remain watchful,” Keyser said, “and quickly report any sign of fire.”

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