SD Game, Fish and Parks to vote on baiting regulations change

Blake Swanson
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Conservation Officer

Over the past several years, baiting wildlife has increased in interest with sportsmen and sportswomen as a tactic to help with harvest of more mature animals. Baiting activity has closely coincided with the rise of outdoor enthusiast inspired television shows, YouTube and social media outlets throughout the United States. Many states have adopted regulations to restrict when and where sportsmen can manage a “baited site” including here in South Dakota. In the near future, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission will vote on the proposal to change our current baiting regulations. The proposal would move the restricted dates from the current Aug. 15 - Feb. 1 and March 15 - May 31 dates to Aug. 1 - Feb. 1 and March 15 - May 31. The new proposed date changes are largely due to changes made in 2018 to move the Archery Deer Season to begin September 1.

The new proposed date restriction would allow one month for wildlife to acclimate to more natural feeding patterns, as to not allow sportsmen the opportunity to “cheat the system and draw wildlife to specific locations based on their natural instinct to feed.” This has been topic of discussion for decades and in many instances stirred the pot for many side conversations. One topic of consideration should be habitat. For wildlife to thrive in the landscape, they have four basic needs - food, water, cover and space. Currently, the SDGFP Private Lands Program offers assistance with three of those basic needs - food, water and cover. The most important, especially in South Dakota is space, privately owned tracts of land could benefit from current habitat programs and recently new habitat programs implemented through the 2nd Century Initiative. Many of these programs are specifically designed to entice wildlife to specific locations to utilize at least two of their four basic needs. Sounds a lot like baiting, but through sound management, these locations could be utilized by wildlife year-round, alleviating the need to follow specific regulations for unnatural baiting tactics. For more information, feel free to contact your local Conservation Officer or any Game, Fish and Parks office.