From South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department
-- Applications for South Dakota's 2007-08 resident big game depredation pool are now available. This is a no-cost program which only accepts online applications.
"Depredation hunts allow us to promptly respond to landowners who have large numbers of animals congregating on crops and forage, when other methods of reducing or eliminating damage have proven ineffective," said the S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Department's Wildlife Damage Management Administrator Art Smith of Pierre. "It is an especially valuable tool in cases of severe damage that cannot be controlled by any other method, as the hunt targets the specific animals causing damage."
The depredation drawing is used to establish pools of hunters who can be called upon for special hunts intended to minimize damage to private crops or forage. The need for the hunter pools is usually closely related to winter weather - a mild winter has meant few calls for a depredation hunt, and during extremely harsh winters, entire lists have been contacted.
Features for this year's depredation hunt application include allowing hunters to choose the county or counties where they would be called on to hunt, in addition to choosing which species they are interested in hunting. The species are deer, turkey and antelope. There is no fee associated with applying for the depredation pool which is available only through online applications.
"Hunters who are called must be immediately available to participate in a depredation hunt," Smith said. "Because of this, it is recommended that applicants only apply for those counties in which they reside or live closest to in order to minimize travel time and other difficulties associated with getting to a hunting area. If depredation hunts are necessary, they will be authorized between Dec. 1 and March 31."
To apply, interested hunters need to enter the Game, Fish and Parks Web site at www.sdgfp.info and then navigate to the "What's New" section or go to http://www.sdgfp.info/Wildlife/hunting/Applications/Index.htm. Paper applications will not be available for this season. Hunters without Internet access who wish to apply for the depredation pool can get assistance from their local Game, Fish and Parks office.