South Dakota Fishing and Hunting
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Trapping in South Dakota
Trapping is one of the oldest professions in the Dakota Territory, and has undergone many changes in the past few decades. Hardy frontiersmen once led pack horses bundled down with prime pelts. And there was the time when every farmer kept a few traps around that they would occasionally set to prevent animal predation. Fewer people trap now, and those who do tend to specialize in trapping certain species. Most of South Dakota's predators are valuable furbearers that also provide recreation for hunters and trappers. Predators are normally useful because their regular diet consists of rodents, rabbits, insects and other small animals. But because most predators are opportunists, they also cause damage to domestic livestock and crops.
The South Dakota Dept. of Game, Fish and Parks employs 19 Extension Trappers in its Animal Damage Control Program. Some of the extension trapper's time is spent conducting educational programs on sport trapping as a form of recreation and its importance in management of furbearers. These programs cover the life history of furbearers, the art of trapping, demonstrations, and displays. Programs can be given in classrooms, meeting halls, summer camps, or any other group meeting place.
Residents of South Dakota can call on one of the 19 extension trappers for help with predator or furbearer problems. The trappers are employees of the SD Dept. of Game, Fish and Parks and have two main duties:
· Animal damage management through direct assistance
· Animal damage management through technical assistance (education).
To contact your local GFP Extension Trapper, call your local GFP office for assistance: Click Here for GFP Office Listing
Furbearer Seasons:Click here to access furbearer season information and regulations (PDF file)
Get a Furbearer License:
South Dakota Furbearer Seasons include:
· Fox, badger, raccoon, opossum, skunk, coyote, jackrabbit
Nonresidents who possess a valid South Dakota Nonresident Furbearer License may trap beginning the first Saturday in December.
Seasons begin at sunrise of opening day and end at sunset of closing day.
No trapping on or in muskrat houses of any size after March 1.
· Any person taking a bobcat must present the whole carcass to a Conservation Officer or Extension Trapper for registration and tagging of the pelt within 5 days of capture.
· The pelt must be removed from the carcass, and the carcass must be surrendered to a Conservation Officer or an Extension Trapper.
· No person may buy or sell bobcat pelts that are not legally tagged.
· Barbed hooks or other similarly sharpened instruments may not be used to take furbearing animals.
Body Grip Traps
· Body grip or killer-type traps with a jaw spread of eight inches or more are permitted only as water sets. Land sets are prohibited.
Catches Out of Season
· A trapper must immediately release any live wild animal found in a trap or snare at a time when the established season is closed.
· Any trapper who kills a wild animal in a trap or snare out of season must leave the animal undisturbed in the trap or snare and contact a GFP representative with-in 12 hours.
Avoid trapping River Otter
- While all South Dakota trappers should avoid catching otter, it may occur. If this species is caught in a trap or snare, release it alive without causing injury to yourself or the otter.
- Reports of incidentally caught live otter should be submitted via phone, e-mail, or mail. Knowing the location of incidentally caught otter helps to monitor the distribution of otters in the state.
- More information is available in this brochure, River Otter Avoidance Techniques.
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