When Unique Should Be Common


I received an interesting email this week from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. It was a news release entitled, GFP Reminds Hunters to Register for Winter Depredation Hunts, and it started like this:

As winter approaches, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) reminds resident hunters of unique opportunities that could exist later this winter.

GFP’s Wildlife Damage Management Program assists landowners with wildlife depredation abatement programs and services. When other methods are ineffective, GFP may utilize hunters to help reduce damage caused by wildlife.

The release then goes into more detail about how the department allows hunters to address depredation issues from deer, elk, antelope, and turkey. The concept is simple, Joe Hunter registers with the department for these special hunt opportunities. Then, when Lenny The Landowner has problems with wildlife damage on his property, he contacts GFP. If they decide that it is appropriate to remove the critters causing the damage, they draw from the list of registered hunters and give Joe a call.

Joe then goes to Lenny’s property and assists in taking the wildlife that are causing the damage.

What is unique is the fact that hunters are being used for wildlife management rather than bringing in “sharpshooters” on the government payroll to address the issues. Lenny is happy, GFP is happy, and Joe is most certainly happy. That is definitely unique!

In all-too-many locations around the country, and national parks are on the top of my list, the taxpayer is saddled with the cost of handling these kinds of problems while hunters are banned from the landscape. Leaving hunters out of the wildlife management equation is a ludicrous concept, in particular in an age when state and federal agencies are constantly screaming about not having big enough budgets to address all of their functions.

My hat goes off to South Dakota GFP! This most certainly should be a practice that is common and not unique.

That’s the view from here…

Author: Daniel D. Lamoreux

As an outdoor writer and freelance photographer, Dan's publishing credits include articles and/or photographs in more than 40 state, regional and national publications and he has authored three books. His expertise on the subject matter has been developed from over 40 years experience pursuing the outdoor sports.


  1. What a concept! Common sense rearing it’s head! Nebraska does allow depredation hunting but, I believe it has to be done by the landowner?

  2. The only animals we have here that depreciate crops are feral hogs and deer. The hogs we can hunt year around night and day (except night time during deer season). So our depredation permits are for the whitetail deer. South Dakota does it very similar to what we do here. One difference I see is that here the landowner invites the hunters he wants or knows instead of the state selecting the hunters.

    It goes like this: The landowner applies to the DNR for depredation permits. The DNR sends out a biologist to do a cursory check of the land, crops and deer sign. Then he writes the landowner a permit for whatever number of deer he thinks should be culled. In a lot of cases the biologist simply takes the landowners suggestion of the number that the landowner thinks he needs to cull. Once the landowner gets the permit he can can invite any state citizen with a valid hunting license to help him take that number out of the deer herd.

    Last year I had a standing invitation to help a friend use his depredation permit for 200 deer on his 2300 acre farm. This included night hunts with spotlights. Here the permits aren’t issued until after fawning season so it tends to be mid to late summer and through the winter but night hunting isn’t allowed during the fall/winter deer season.

    Everything works so much better when left to “the states and the people”.

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