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PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is reaching out to the hunting public to explore the use of hunting opportunities on private land that is leased for public hunting - known as Walk-In Areas.

Hunters using Walk-In Areas are being surveyed in the first of what will likely be a three-year evaluation of those areas are being used and how hunters use them.

GFP will focus particular attention on the northwestern part of the state with a more in-depth evaluation of those Walk-in Areas. GFP staff will record the use of select Walk-In Areas, and they will conduct personal interviews with returning hunters in some cases; in other cases, survey cards will be left on vehicles parked there.

"Leaving the card is a survey technique we hope the public will find convenient and easy to complete," said Larry Gigliotti, GFP human dimension specialist.

"A very important part of the survey process will be to have all hunters complete the cards and mail them back to us as soon as possible," he said.

Those who are surveyed will be asked what they were hunting, how often they hunt Walk-In Areas, and how they assessed their experience on a particular Walk-In Area.


Information will also be gathered from six other areas of the state, although personal interviews will not be conducted in those places.


The Walk-In Area program was started in 1987 as a way supplement public hunting opportunities by compensating private landowners who allow access to their land. Payments to landowners are based both on acreage and quality of habitat. There are 1.3 million acres enrolled in the Walk-In program, and GFP has budgeted $2.15 million for the 2009 Walk-In Area program.




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