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PIERRE – The Game, Fish and Parks Commission has proposed elk seasons for areas outside of Custer State Park, including a new season for elk hunting in prairie units. Previously, firearms elk hunting units in Gregory and Bennett counties had been part of the Black Hills elk season. The proposal would split these counties into a new prairie firearms elk season. Bennett County would have five units with different season dates for each unit. The Gregory County unit would be open from Sept. 1 through Nov. 9, and from Nov. 19 through Dec. 31. A total of 42 licenses would be available. The new season will hopefully increase hunter’s interest to apply for and accept licenses to hunt in these prairie areas. Previously, many hunters avoided prairie elk units, because drawing a license would affect their eligibility for the Black Hills elk units. A person that is eligible may apply for an elk license in more than one season, but there are still restrictions that limit the number of elk licenses a person can possess. Anyone drawing elk licenses for more than one season may only accept one of the licenses. Eligibility and preference will not be affected by any unaccepted elk license. Preference will apply to the prairie elk season. Anyone with preference for units 411 or 430 can use it in any prairie or Black Hills season unit for 2001 only. In 2002, preference can still be switched within season units, but not between different seasons. Changes for the Black Hills firearms elk season would move Bennett and Gregory counties to the prairie elk season; change season dates for units 401B, 404A, 405A and 406B; divide unit 409A into two units with different hunting dates; and increase the number of licenses available from 1,100 to 1,124. Proposed changes for Black Hills archery elk would add unit 430B in Gregory County and Boyd County, NE; and expand season dates in unit 425A to Sept. 1-30. Applications for these licenses should be available around May 1. To comment, individuals can attend the public hearing at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 5 at The Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls, or write Game, Fish and Parks, 523 E.Capitol, Pierre, S.D. 57501. E-mail comments may be sent to Comments must include full name and address.

Uploaded: 3/15/2001