The South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Commission proposed the 2018 East River Deer season. Some items in it are benign and other are more noteworthy.

The number of tags is being rolled back by 175. There will be 20,900 one-tag and 5,250 two-tag licenses.

The 2018 East River Deer season would run from November 17 to December 2. Unfilled antlerless tags would be valid December 8 to 16 for late season hunting, which is a change from previous years when that season ran for 9 days starting the first Saturday after Christmas.

The biggest change, and one I don't particularly care for at all is the introduction of a new unit in Sully and Hughes County. All of the game production areas along the shore of Lake Oahe will become its own Limited Access Unit (59L).

The split between east and west Sully County will go away and the whole county, with the exception of the 59L area would become unit 59A.

Why this is happening is the mystery. As per usual, the GFP news release does not include any detail about why this has been proposed. Emails sent yesterday to the GFP and a commissioner were not returned as of this writing.

I have hunted Sully County for the last four years. One of my favorite areas to hunt is a huge swath of walk-in public ground near Okobojo Creek that is surrounded by game production area that would be included in the new 59L unit. Most of this ground is only accessible by boat or by walking miles of shoreline.

South Dakota is not a great state when it comes to public land. This area near Okobojo Creek is one of the few gems of public ground in the state. I have shot a deer while sitting in what would be 59A while it was in 59L. As this is one of my favorite places to hunt I am irritated by this change.

I am not opposed to being inconvenienced if this action is necessary for a justifiable reason. If it is being done to bring numbers back up I would support it as part of the greater good. I have a feeling it is at best only partly for that reason.


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