Game Fish & Parks

SD Legislative Resource Council

The "open fields" bill has been resurrected, amended, and passed in the South Dakota Senate.

House Bill 1140 puts restrictions on Game Fish & Parks officers entering private land. The Senate Judiciary killed the bill in committee on Tuesday, March 2, but the full Senate smoked the bill out the next day and voted on an amended version on Monday, March 8.

Victoria Wicks has been following this legislation for SDPB.

Arts & Lifestyle: Apr 11 - 17

Apr 17, 2020

In this week's arts and lifestyle podcast, we hear from Game Fish and Parks, a couple outdoorsmen, an author, and SDPB's Chynna Lockett brings us a very special feature.

Game Fish & Parks: Q&A

Mar 30, 2020

In The Moment ... March 30, 2020 Show 784 Hour 2

From spending some time at a state park to casting a line to release a little stress, South Dakota outdoor-lovers are challenged to find ways to connect with nature during the pandemic. What are we doing to keep people safe in outdoor facilities. South Dakota Secretary of Game, Fish & Parks Kelly Hepler joins us with an update. 

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South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is preparing for another Nest Predator Bounty Program.

During a monthly commission meeting in Pierre Thursday, commissioners will vote on a resolution desiring another bounty.

Kevin Robeling is a deputy secretary with Game, Fish and Parks. He says the bounty is meant to improve pheasant broods and encourage trapping in South Dakota.

State Parks Fees Increase In 2020

Dec 30, 2019
South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Website

State Park entrance licenses and camping fees will increase starting Wednesday.

Game Fish and Parks officials say that could mean $3 million in revenue for the department.

Game Fish and Parks hope the increase will cover $8 million in flood damages. Infrastructure damage from flooding and high water events.

It’s the first park entrance fee increase since 2014. GF&P says the changes are in line with the rate of inflation and park fees for surrounding states.

Annual licenses to state parks will increase to $36, and daily fees to $8.

Game, Fish, and Parks

South Dakota hunters can sign up for an extended deer, elk and turkey season to reduce wildlife damage on private property. The Game, Fish, and Parks department may offer the season later this winter. 

The program registers hunters to help manage the impact of wildlife on agricultural acres and remove unwanted animals. 

Keith Fisk manages the program. He said that so-called depredation hunts are an effective tool. 

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.