The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks announced today that it is seeking input from the public on what to do with the late season antlerless deer hunting periods.

In a press release the GFP said "The GFP Commission proposed a regulation to require all deer seasons to end no later than Jan. 1." 

As per usual, no reason was given as to why it should end January 1. My guess is it's a nice round number that's easy to remember because reading the dates on the application is hard. 

Currently unfilled antlerless tags in East River units only for nine days starting the Saturday after Christmas. That always puts the end of the season after January 1. Since that's inexplicably not acceptable anymore two options were given to remedy the problem.

Option 1: Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

Option 2: Begin the Saturday following the conclusion of the East River deer hunting season and run for nine consecutive days.

The press release also seemed to give the impression that West River antlerless tags may get a late season as well.

When this late season doe hunt happens is about as worrisome as a cloudy day. But since hunting beyond the day of a New Year's hangover, I'd vote for option 2. Christmas is hectic. Forcing option 1 in during kids Christmas vacation will ensure fewer tags are filled. That may be their goal, who knows? I like the idea of it starting the Saturday after the regular East River season. In 2018 that would be from December 8 - 16.

Most hunters won't really care about this at all, but if you can get yourself a spare doe tag, you could get some more meat for the freezer during the late doe season.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 3 at 2 p.m. MT at Custer State Park.

Individuals can also provide written comments on commission rule proposals by sending them to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501, or via email to To be included in the public record and to be considered by the Commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing).

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