The harsh conditions of two and three winters ago cut deeply into wildlife in many parts of South Dakota, especially for big game such as deer. The initial impact came through direct mortality, followed by a wave of weaker reproduction the following springs by animals that survived, but were stressed and in poor health.
What that likely means for deer hunters is they’ll be allowed to take fewer deer this fall.
The smaller populations of mule deer and whitetails, especially across the northern third of South Dakota counties, led the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission to follow the recommendations from the state’s wildlife biologists Thursday that the herds need to be allowed a better chance to rebuild. The commission proposed that fewer licenses overall be issued and fewer multi-tag licenses be allowed during the West River, Black Hills, archery, muzzleloader and youth seasons.