Archery hunters reminded to heed park rules Now that the busy camping and picnicking season has passed, another park user group has stepped in to pursue a different type of outdoor adventure.
Bow hunting has become a popular fall and winter activity, and area state parks and recreation areas are seeing an increase in this activity. Therefore, according to park law enforcement officials, it is time to remind folks about some important regulations that apply to hunting in state parks and recreation areas.
Chad Williams, park ranger at Palisades State Park near Garretson, says there are a number of rules pertaining to hunting in South Dakota state parks that may be confusing some hunters and ignored by others.
"It is our goal to make sure hunters understand what is expected of them, and to make sure they have a safe and enjoyable experience," Williams said.
Williams, an avid bow hunter himself, offers the following tips:
* Remember that park entrance licenses are required year-round in park areas designated as fee areas. These licenses may be purchased at self-registration stations at park entrances.
Vehicles may not be driven off roads, and use of unlicensed ATVs is prohibited.
* Construction of permanent tree stands or use of nails, wire or bolts is prohibited. Only portable tree stands and climbing devices and use of removable screw-in steps are allowed only from Aug. 25 to Feb. 15. Hunters should not cut any branches or trees when placing their stands.
* Portable tree stands must be labeled with the owner's name and address or year and current archery tag number, and the label must be clearly legible from the ground.
Williams also stresses that hunters need to be aware of the various rules and regulations that apply to their sport, whether it is occurring on public or private land. These rules are included in the 2003 South Dakota Hunting Handbook which is available at all Game, Fish and Parks offices or on the department Web site at www.state.sd.us/gfp/.
He also advises hunters to be considerate of other park users and be aware of their likely presence.
Hunters should always be continually focused on shooting safety and careful of where they field dress their harvested game.
"A little common courtesy will go a long way to ensuring that both hunting and other park uses can exist in harmony," he said.