Lion Hunters Reminded to Check on Season Status
Rapid City, S.D.- With the taking of the 13th female mountain lion Monday, the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks are reminding hunters to check the season status before going out to the field.
"We are approaching the 15 female lion harvest limit,"said John Kanta, Regional Game Manager for the GFP. "Once we harvest 15 female lions the season will end. It's important that hunters call our toll free information number and check the website."
When the mountain lion season ends, landowners with a license can continue to hunt mountain lions on their own land outside the Black Hills Fire Protection District for the remainder of the year.
The mountain lion season status can be accessed by calling (866) 895-9067 or on the web at http:www.sdgfp.info\Wildlife\MountainLions\MtLionseasonstatus.htm
TIPS Program 2008 Highlights
PIERRE, S.D. -The 2008 South Dakota hunting seasons were successful ones for hunters and Game, Fish and Parks conservation officers alike. With record numbers of pheasants and ample big game populations, hunters readily found game, both legally and illegally.
"Even though there is enough game and hunting opportunities for everyone, some people still chose to take game illegally," said Shon Eide, TIPS Coordinator for the Game Fish and Parks Department. "Some people, I won't call them hunters, think that no one is watching them, but with the TIPS program, concerned outdoorsmen and women help police most areas prettyeffectively."
TIPS, or Turn In Poachers, is a program that allows sportsmen to report illegal hunting and fishing activity to a toll free number. TIPS callers
are then eligible for a reward if their call results in a violation. The program, which is paid for by donations, is quite popular.
"We had 327 TIPS calls from July 1 to December 31, which was down a littlefrom last year," said Eide. "We also paid out $8,660 in TIPS rewards because many of the TIPS we received made good cases and the involved parties deserve this reward for their time, effort and involvement."
"State hunting or fishing license fee moneys are not used to fund the TIPS program so we rely on the generosity of sportsmen to fund this program. Our donations were down this year, so we are operating at a deficit. This is a great program and it is a critical part of our enforcement program," said Eide.
TIPS calls and resulting arrests run the spectrum of offenses and lead to many interesting cases:
1. An east river landowner was combining corn when he observed a pickup, driving at high speeds, coming down a gravel road. The farmer had just pushed a whitetail doe and fawn out of the cornfield. The pickup came to an abrupt stop, three people jumped out of the pickup and shot both of the deer from the road, while the deer were still in the farmers field. The three then crossed the fence and proceeded to field dress the deer. The landowner contacted his brother, who was hauling corn nearby and the brother found the group and the deer. After being confronted, one of the shooters told the brother, "Well since we shot this deer on your land, you can have it."
The three then proceeded to drag one deer to their pickup, load it, and leave. The brother took down the license plate and called TIPS. The
local conservation officer followed up on the call and found the deer, untagged, in the garage of the man who owned the pickup.
2. Six Black Hills elk hunters had met each other at a local café and were lamenting about their unsuccessful hunting. They decided to join forces with a local guide. One of the group, along with the guide, proceeded to shoot two bull elk, while only possessing a cow tag. Two of the group had bull tags and tagged the animals. One of the bulls was shot out of a pickup window. The hunters did not know each other prior to their meeting at the café. This case lead to five class one and two class two misdemeanor charges.
3. Two conservation officers observed two vehicles traveling at high speed in the northeastern part of the state. The vehicles disappeared while the officers tried to follow but were eventually found parked side by side. As the officers approached the vehicles, they noticed an untagged 4x4 whitetail being field dressed behind one of the pickups and that pickup had an untagged 3x0 in its bed. The east river buck season was closed. As the officers began to interview the shooters, a local landowner pulled up and told the officers that the offenders had shot another deer in a slough close by. The shooter admitted to taking that deer as well. While loading the deer into the pickup, the officers noticed the shooter walking gingerly. The shooter then told the officers he had recently had a surgery to prevent having any more children. The other vehicle parked in the road was the shooters wife, who had a baby in the car and informed the officers she had to get home to feed the baby. The license the shooter was carrying was that of his wife's. He was not able to get a hunting license because he did not pay his child support.
This case led to nine class one and eight class two misdemeanors.
If you think you have seen a hunting or fishing violation take place, call 1-888-OVERBAG. Callers can remain anonymous and callers dont have to appear in court. It is important that violations are reported quickly with as much information about the violation as possible.
Great Backyard Bird Count - Count for Fun, Count for the Future!
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) returns this month. Millions of novice and accomplished bird watchers can make their love of nature add up for science and for the future during the 12th annual count, led by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. During Presidents' Day weekend, February 13-16, 2009, anyone can count birds wherever they are and enter their results at http://www.birdcount.org/ <http://e2ma.net/go/1704957079/1549982/56954717/goto:http://www.birdcount.org/> . These reports create a real-time picture of where birds are across the continent and contribute valuable information for science and conservation.
Participants from 48 South Dakota communities plus the Black Hills National Forest participated in the 2008 count, reporting a total of 91 species. The most commonly reported bird species were the dark-eyed junco, black-capped chickadee, house sparrow, downy woodpecker, and American goldfinch. The most numerous birds reported by South Dakota counters were the Canada goose, European starling, American goldfinch, mallard, and house sparrow. Rapid City counters submitted the most checklists, followed by Vermillion, Huron, Sioux Falls, and Pierre. Pierre birders reported the most species in the state at 54, with Vermillion counters at a distant second place with 33 species.
South Dakota was twice mentioned in national highlights in 2008. An ivory gull was reported for the first time ever in this North American count. This rare gull spent part of the winter on Lake Oahe near Pierre and was cooperative enough to stick around for the count. Also, South Dakota counters helped document a continued range expansion for the red-bellied woodpecker, with a record 23 reports from 11 locations.
Everyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to seasoned experts. During the count, bird watchers tally up birds for as little as
15 minutes, or for as long as they like, keeping track of the highest number of each bird species they see together at one time. People are
encouraged to report birds from public lands and local parks, as well as from their
backyards. Participants enter their numbers online at http://www.birdcount.org/ <http://e2ma.net/go/1704957079/1549982/56954718/goto:http://www.birdcount.org/> and can explore sightings maps, lists, and charts as the count progresses. There is no fee to participate as you Count for Fun, Count for the Future.
South Dakota Dept. of Game, Fish, and Parks | 523 E. Capital Ave. |
Pierre, SD 57501