Game Fish & Parks

Game, Fish, and Parks

Chronic Wasting Disease is confirmed in samples collected from a deer south of Martin.


Chronic wasting disease is a fatal brain disease found largely in deer and elk. This is the first case in Bennett County. 


Chad Switzer is a Wildlife Program Administrator with South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks. He says the GFP is currently working on monitoring the disease across the entire state.


US Fish and Wildlife Service

Zebra mussels have been a major problem in Midwestern and Great Lakes waterways for more than three decades when the invasive species was brought over by ships from the Black Sea in eastern Europe. Officials say the mussels were first found in South Dakota in 2014 and have recently spread to new areas.

Mike Greiner is the aquatic invasive species coordinator for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

Greiner says zebra mussels spread in the summer months when waters are regularly above 50 degrees.

GF&P Considers Park Fee Increase On Thursday

Oct 1, 2019
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South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

State park passes are now available for the 2020 season.

It could be the last year to purchase park licenses before Game Fish and Parks officials increase entrance and camping fees. The commission is considering an increase to cover $8-million dollars in flood damages.

Chris Hull is a communications representative for Game Fish and Parks.  He says even with an increase price will remain similar to neighboring state parks.

GF&P Proposes Extending Trap Check Time

Sep 16, 2019
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South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

Game Fish and Parks officials are proposing an extension to trap check times for trappers east of the Missouri River.

The change would make check times three and a partial day across the entire state. Currently, east river check times are two and a partial day.

Keith Fisk is the Wildlife Damage Program administrator with Game Fish and Parks. He says the proposals makes check times consistent across the state.

GF&P Seeking Comment On Trap Check Times

Aug 14, 2019
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South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is seeking public input on shortening the timespan a trapper must check active traps.

Those proposing a reduced trap time say trapping is only regulated on the honor system.

One trapper says it’s part of a constant pressure to eliminate trapping.

Currently, the rules for checking a trap are about three days West River and about two days East River The new rule requires trappers check a trap or snare every 24 hours.

News: Aug 3 - 9

Aug 9, 2019
Josh Haiar

This week we had Jon Hunter with the Madison Daily Leader and Jon Schaff, Political Science professor at NSU as our Politcal Junkies; we discussed the Pentagon launching surveillance balloons over South Dakota and the American Civil Liberties Union’s concerns over privacy, and the Jon Hunter’s report shinning a light on South Dakota’s need for more mental health professionals. We hear from folks at the new addiction treatment center, Project Recovery, and what they’re seeing regarding addiction in South Dakota.


In The Moment ... August 6, 2019 Show 631 Hour 1

The discovery of zebra mussels in a second Missouri River reservoir has prompted Governor Kristi Noem to warn boaters to pull their plugs before and after they've had their crafts in South Dakota waters to prevent contamination.

South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Wildlife Division Director explains why invasive species life causes problems and how we can prevent them from getting worse.

SD GF&P Opens Trapping On Public Land

Jun 28, 2019
cuatrok77 / flickr

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is reopening public land to trapping, as part of the state’s Nest Predator Bounty Program.
But one western South Dakota conservation group opposes the program and hopes to reform the state’s trapping rules.


In The Moment ... April 25, 2019 Show 562 Hour 2

SDPB's Stephanie Rissler recaps last week's South Dakota Focus which covered deer hunting and the Second Century Habitat Initiative.

South Dakota Focus can be seen Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central on SDPB-TV or online at 

Adria Botella

In The Moment ... March 21, 2019 Show 540 Hour 1

Kevin Woster joins us to discuss a recent predator trap initiatve from Governor Noem's office.


In The Moment ... March 6, 2019 Show 529 Hour 1

5 days ago, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission unanimously approved a new deer license allocation proposal. That would allow a resident hunter to apply for 2 of the 6 deer seasons in the first draw. SDPB's Nate Wek is with us now to discuss this further.

  Sports and Recreation programming is sponsored by Delta Hotels by Marriott Minneapolis Northeast. Learn more at

Steve Munsen

In The Moment ... January 10, 2019 Show 492 Hour 2

Kelly Hepler stays on as the Secretary of Game Fish and Parks into the Noem administration.

Hepler discusses current issues important to his department and the GF&P's legislative agenda in a visit with In The Moment host Lori Walsh at the State Capitol in Pierre.

Adria Botella

In The Moment ... January 3, 2019 Show 487 Hour 2

South Dakota has 13 state parks with the first being Custer which came about in 1919. A new documentary "A Century of South Dakota State Parks" offers a look at the development of the state park system in South Dakota and tells some of stories behind several of the parks.

SDPB's Brian Gevik joins us for a preview of the new Images of the Past documentary. It airs tonight at 8:30 CT / 7:30 MT on SDPB-TV.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... May 9, 2018 Show 333 Hour 2

You can find Kevin Woster's blog On the Other Hand. And, sometimes, you can find him at the state Game, Fish & Parks meetings, where he's ready to share his thoughts on policy.


In The Moment ... February 5, 2018 Show 270 Hour 2

It's estimated that recreation along Lake Oahe generates upwards of $20 million annually. The resources in the reservoir, along with those in Lake Sharp, Francis Case, and Lewis and Clark further downstream, are managed by South Dakota Game Fish and Parks.

Staff members from the agency were guests on a recent South Dakota Focus to discuss the Lake Oahe Management plan and the issues that linger from the Missouri River Flood in 2011.

Lee Strubinger / SDPB

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks officials are optimistic about the rules put in place for public access to water situated over private land.

Over the summer, the legislature prompted the state GF & P to draft rules that open those bodies of water for recreation, unless a landowner deems otherwise. Those rules expire in June.

The governor wants the legislature to extend those rules to 2021.

The rules put in place were meant to please both landowners and recreationists in the prairie pothole region in the northeastern part of the state.

In The Moment ... October 23, 2017 Show 204 Hour 1

Emily Kiel is Communications Director for the South Dakota GFP. She's also a lifelong South Dakota hunter. She joins us for a look at this year's Pheasant Season opener, where the bird count is down, but the traditions remain strong.

Comments made by a Troy Township supervisor were pivotal in a South Dakota Supreme Court partial reversal. The court made its opinion public on Thursday, Aug. 17.

At issue is the vacating of roads in three townships in Day County. Game, Fish & Parks appealed those vacations to the Fifth Circuit, saying the township boards were trying to cut off public access to disputed bodies of water in Day County.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s Secretary of Tourism says you should take Friday off. It’s National Travel and Tourism week, and state officials are seizing the opportunity to lure people away from their desks and into the wild. They also celebrate South Dakotans who promote tourism in their everyday work. 

Workers at the South Dakota Department of Tourism have a long week promoting their industry. Secretary Jim Hagen says an expectation remains: employees should use their paid time off.

In The Moment ... April 12, 2017 Show 070 Hour 2

We begin the hour with Dakota Political Junkies Jon Hunter and Noel Hamiel. Today we talk ethanol, land-owner rights, and how not to sacrifice journalistic standards for the sake of speed. Jon Hunter is publisher of the Madison Daily Leader. Noel Hamiel is former publisher of the Mitchell Republic and a member of the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... March 17, 2017 Show 052 Hour 1

The state Senate has approved a bill that sets up a new board to oversee South Dakota's four technical institutes.

The State House Committee for Agriculture and Natural Resources has passed a bill that changes the way landowners can use hunting permits. The bill allows landowners to transfer those permits in certain circumstances. 

The Senate Education Committee will not hear testimony or vote on the latest version of a transgender bathroom bill. 

Black Hills Lion Shot In Bluegrass State

Aug 25, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

The state of Kentucky is about 1200 miles from the Black Hills but that might not be too far for a mountain lion to roam.   A Black Hills mountain lion turned up in the Bluegrass State recently.

The 5 year old male was treed by a dog near the town of Paris, Kentucky and local officials shot the animal citing public safety concerns.  Later genetic testing showed the big cat is related to the Black Hills population.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

A 24 pound, 8 ounce chinook salmon caught on Lake Oahe last week is a state record. It broke the previous record of 23 pounds, 14 ounces. The state Game, Fish and Parks verified the record yesterday. Gordon Sampson of Highmore caught the fish after just five minutes on the water.

The Game, Fish and Parks department has received reports of other large salmon being caught close to the state record. News of the giant fish is attracting anglers to the Pierre area for the chance to catch their own big salmon.

Nate Wek SDPB

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but by the middle of the 20th century populations of the bird of prey were decimated. In 1963, there were only 487 nesting pairs in the contiguous states. However new regulations and the banning of the pesticide DDT helped the bald eagle population recover. 


During tough winters, hungry deer often eat hay and other stored livestock feed. South Dakota State University researchers are currently exploring fall cover crops that will attract deer and provide nutrient-rich winter forage. Preliminary results show that turnips and radishes are the top two choices followed by peas.

The research project is in its final year and focuses on eastern South Dakota. It’s funded by a three-year grant from the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration, administered by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

2014 Mountain Lion Hunting Season Ends

Apr 1, 2014

Mountain Lion hunting season ended Monday. This year’s quota was 25 fewer than last year’s of 100. But as of Friday, only 52 lions had been harvested. There’s a lot of data that goes into determining the mountain lion quota and it’s up to a Game, Fish and Parks commission to consider that data, plus input from mountain lion enthusiasts and protectors to set a limit.

Fighting Mountain Pine Beetles

Aug 26, 2013
Farm & Livestock Directory

Last week, Governor Dennis Daugaard announced that more than 240,000 acres have been surveyed for Mountain Pine Beetle infestations since the Black Hills Forest Initiative began two years ago.  As a result of the surveys, crews have "cut and chunked" or otherwise treated 335,000 trees on private and state land.  Almost 1,900 landowners have participated in the initiative's cost-share program.  The South Dakota Departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks have contracted with several Black Hills area conservation districts to hire an average of 50 seasonal employees to keep ahead of c

Mountain lion hunting season began in the Black Hills in the fall of 2005. Wildlife officials say the season was the result of declining deer and elk populations and an increase in the number of lion sightings. Officials took measures to manage the big cat population, but eight years later they say they’re making changes.