Howdy, South Dakota wildlife heroes! The 99th Legislative Session is upon us, and with it comes a tidal wave of legislation impacting our state’s wildlife and natural resources. This year, we’re expecting a whopping 600 bills before the dust settles on January 31st – time to buckle up!
Snowmobiles and Coyotes:
SB 14 has already flown through the Senate Agriculture Committee, aiming to expand coyote hunting… from snowmobiles. While it had no opposition in committee and the GFP was neutral we expect it to pass the Senate and head to the House.
Elk on the Horizon:
A prairie elk bill is in the works, set for introduction later this month. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one, ensuring any elk harvest aligns with sound science and responsible wildlife management.
License Lows and CAMO Highs:
Get ready for some financial juggling! A proposal to add the habitat fee to the one-day fishing and hunting preserve licenses. This bill is also in the draft stage but will be introduced.
Mark your calendars for CAMO Day on February 12th! Descend upon Pierre and raise your voice for wildlife on this crucial advocacy day. Watch your email for more information.
The following bills are those that we are currently tracking. Let us know if you have questions.
- SB 54: Updates hunting and fishing residency requirements.
- SB 55: Eliminates the multiple vehicle ownership requirement for discounted park entry licenses.
- SB 70: Funds Richmond Lake dam repairs and other state-owned dam maintenance.
- HB 1064: Emergency funding for Lake Alvin and Newell Lake infrastructure increases.
- HB 1112: Allows disabled hunters to use motorized wheelchairs on school and public lands.
Remember: Stay informed! Track all bills at https://sdlegislature.gov/. And keep your calls, emails, and boots-on-the-ground activism ready! Together, we can weather this legislative storm and ensure a bright future for South Dakota’s wildlife.
The South Dakota Wildlife Federation
P.S. Share this update with your fellow nature warriors! The more voices, the merrier (and the wilder) the legislative landscape will be.