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South Dakota Sets Spring Turkey Seasons, Keeps Rifles Legal

December 30, 2008.

From South Dakota Game Fish and Parks:

The Game Fish and Parks Commission tackled an issue that has resurfaced at meetings several times over the past decade, and in the end decided “no change”, for the present time, was the best course of action.

The 2009 Spring Turkey season will proceed with hunters still being able to use rifles in most of South Dakota, including the Black Hills.

A proposed change that would have made it illegal for hunters to use rifles while turkey hunting was tabled with the promise that it will be revisited next year.

“I don’t think we have gotten enough input from the hunters,” said Commission member Tim Kessler.  “I would like to see us make sure the nearly 10% of west river and Black Hills turkey hunters who use rifles get the opportunity to weigh in on this issue.  We can look at this next year after we have heard from them.”

The GF&P Commission directed the Wildlife Division to survey spring turkey hunters over the next year to gather additional input, as well as providing information to all spring turkey hunters in 2009 by means of an insert included with their spring turkey licenses.

The current restriction against the use of rifles will remain in effect for the Prairie Spring Turkey counties of Minnehaha, Brookings, Davison, Day, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin, Hutchinson, Jerauld, Moody, Sanborn, Turner, Marshall, Roberts, Codington and Hanson

The Commission did increase the number of tags available for the 2009 season by increasing the number of two-tag licenses in certain hunting units.

The Commission also chose to combine Perkins County into one hunting unit, Roberts and Marshall Counties into one unit, and give hunters the option for choosing a preference point instead of applying for a specific unit.

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