South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks Department is eager. Eager to help boost deer populations in the East River region of the state.

As a result of this eagerness, the SDGFP commission voted earlier this month to help. This help comes in the reduction of deer permits in the East River Units. This is the second consecutive year that permits will be cut.

Overall the permits will be reduced by a total of 400. While the number of available permits has remained somewhat steady since 2016, the number of deer harvested has been declining.

In 2016 South Dakota saw a total number of deer harvested at just over 16,000. In 2019 that number dropped to just under 13,000.

Officials have stated that the major causes of the drop in deer populations stem from multiple sources. Harsh winters, habitat loss, and disease have all played a role.

Josh Delger, the regional wildlife supervisor, says that they have been working for decades to help increase deer populations.

“We’re always trying to strike a balance. supporting the existing habitat, while also catering to area hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.”

Why the need for more deer? According to another SDGFP biologist, with current birthing trends and license sales, the population can grow faster with fewer permits. They determine this will be a sustainable plan for the future.

Utah is also reducing its available permits for the 2021 season. However, it is a more drastic cut than South Dakota’s. In a story covered previously by EhuntR we discussed this deer tag reduction.

States like South Dakota and Utah are seeing deer populations decline faster than they can build them. This is where permit reduction comes into play. Hard choices have to be made to keep herds healthy.

What are your thoughts on these tag reductions? Do you plan on hunting in South Dakota? Let us know in the comments!



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