Landowners asked to remember statewide mowing restrictions

Landowners asked to remember statewide mowing restrictions South Dakota's departments of Game, Fish and Parks and Transportation are asking landowners to remember the mowing restrictions on state highway ditches.

Mowing during the critical nesting period can threaten wildlife populations; especially the ring-necked pheasant, according to GFP Assistant Wildlife Director George Vandel.

"The mowing restriction is important for the state's pheasant population. On GFP lands that are managed for wildlife, mowing is delayed until Aug. 1," he noted.

A Department of Transportation rule allows land-owners to mow after July 10 in eastern South Dakota and after June 15 in Lyman, Gregory and Tripp Counties.

Mowing can begin anytime in the other counties west of the Missouri River.

"It is very important that birds nesting in roadside cover remain undisturbed," Vandel said. "The rule was set in place to protect the birds and their nests. I encourage all producers to delay their mowing as long as possible to give nesting hens a chance to hatch their broods. The period beginning in late April and running through the month of July is our critical nesting season."

Department of Transportation Secretary Dennis Landguth encourages people to look at this as a compromise.

"Many different groups have an interest in what happens in the state's rights-of-way, so it's important to find the right balance," Landguth said. "The current mowing dates should allow more time for pheasants to nest, but also still give landowners a chance to get the hay while it is still has some value."

Landguth notes the DOT will monitor drought conditions.

For more information, contact the state Department of Transportation at (605) 773-3265 or the Department of Game, Fish and Parks at (605) 773-3381.

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