(John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Drivers could get opportunity to support wildlife habitat with license plates

BY: - February 1, 2024

PIERRE — South Dakotans may soon be able to purchase a special license plate to support the state’s wildlife habitat conservation efforts. The yet-to-be-designed plates would cost an as-yet undetermined fee that would go to the Game, Fish and Parks Department. The funds would be used to help improve everything from wetlands in the northeast […]

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kevin Robling presents to the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources on Jan. 16, 2024. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

State lacks data to prove trapping program increases the pheasant population, official says

BY: - January 16, 2024

A state official said Tuesday there is no data to show that a predator trapping program has increased the state’s pheasant population.  Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kevin Robling presented information about the program to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and fielded questions from committee members during a hearing at the Capitol in […]

A deer in a field

Is it hunting? ‘Wild’ game increasingly raised in captivity for profit

BY: - December 19, 2023

When Jeff Olson saw a photo of a massive buck deer recently – along with a message suggesting it was a record breaker – he was immediately skeptical. Olson is a Black Hills Sportsmen Club board member and a former state Game, Fish and Parks commissioner.  “Any real hunter knows wild deer don’t look like […]

Trail camera footage shows river otters swimming in the Big Sioux River watershed.

From threatened to managed population: Fourth river otter trapping season concludes

BY: - November 20, 2023

The state’s fourth river otter trapping season ended last weekend when the legal limit of 20 was reached. That season was unimaginable only a few decades ago when river otters were all but non-existent in South Dakota.  The Game, Fish and Parks Department said Saturday that trappers holding a furbearer license had to report their […]

Prairie grass sways in the wind in western South Dakota. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Three SD projects receive a combined $51 million for climate-smart agriculture

BY: - November 11, 2023

A land trust, state university and conservation group will receive a combined total of $51 million in federal funding to incentivize “climate-smart” agriculture in South Dakota.  The biggest grant went to Ducks Unlimited, a hunter-led organization focused on habitat conservation. It was awarded $25 million by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to restore over 25,000 […]

Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kevin Robling and the GF&P Commission meet on Nov. 2, 2023, in Madison. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Tourism and fairness concerns delay decision on fishing-license oddity

BY: - November 2, 2023

MADISON — It’s still cheaper for visitors from other states to buy three one-day South Dakota fishing licenses than one three-day license, at least for now. Amid debates about tourism and the fairness of fees for in-state anglers vs. out-of-staters, the Game, Fish and Parks Commission postponed its anticipated vote Thursday in Madison on the […]

Pheasants Forever launches new initiative to expand outdoor access in South Dakota

BY: - August 23, 2023

In an effort to enhance public outdoor access and support long-term land conservation, Pheasants Forever has unveiled a new program targeting 10,000 acres of land in South Dakota annually. The new Public Access to Habitat (PATH) initiative aims to complement the current South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Walk-In Area program, which pays landowners about […]

Grass waves in the western South Dakota wind. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

South Dakota ranks third in federal grassland conservation sign-ups

BY: - July 22, 2023

Only two states enrolled more land than South Dakota in the most recent sign-up period for a federal grassland conservation program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grassland Conservation Reserve Program pays farmers to convert or keep environmentally sensitive agricultural land as grassland for 10 to 15 years. Unlike the USDA’s standard Conservation Reserve Program, the […]

A South Dakota hunter walks the tall grass with his dog.

Federal government awards $23 million for Prairie Pothole Region

BY: - March 21, 2023

The federal government plans to spend $23 million to restore and conserve grasslands and wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region, which is known as the “duck factory” of North America and is home to migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. The money is part of the Department of the Interior’s $120 million in funding from […]

Bees gather on the corner of a hive body box at Adee Honey Farms in Bruce, South Dakota. The farm is one of the largest beekeeping operations in the nation. (Courtesy of Adee Honey Farms)

Beekeeper says adulterated honey is a factor in plummeting production

BY: - March 20, 2023

One of the nation’s largest independent honey producers says adulterated products deserve some of the blame for new numbers that reveal a 41 percent drop in South Dakota honey production. It’s the third straight year of declining production in the state, and the 7.2 million pounds produced last year is South Dakota’s lowest value in […]

Cold Springs Creek in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where parcels of private land are being added to the Black Hills National Forest. (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

Black Hills National Forest adds 239 acres through deal with elk group and landowners

BY: - March 16, 2023

The Black Hills National Forest is growing by about one-third of a square mile. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation acquired 239 acres of land from two landowners for a total of $1.1 million and conveyed it to the national forest. The land is high in the remote western area of the forest in South Dakota, […]