South Dakota's pristine backdrops and plentiful game make it a dream destination for hunters and outdoorsmen around the world. While it is known for both large and small game, South Dakota also is home to a number of species which are off limits when it comes to hunting. These animals are protected because they are either endangered or threatened or have been designated as nongame for some other reason, making it illegal to hunt them.
Here is information about four protected species in South Dakota.
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1. Gray Wolves
The gray wolf is an important part of South Dakota's natural ecosystem and is currently listed as an endangered species in the state. It is endangered in many parts of the country but has recovered is certain areas where it is no longer considered endangered, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
2. Northern River Otter
Because South Dakota's natural terrain includes many ideal habitats for the playful river otter, it was at one time a plentiful species in the state. It is an adaptable animal, as agile in water as it is on land. Through the years, many factors have led to the virtual disappearance of the river otter, including over-trapping, habitat loss and urban development. It is now considered by the state to be a threatened animal, and measures are being taken to provide suitable habitat for the species. The river otter is off limits for hunting and trapping. The creature bears a strong resemblance to the mink, so the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is taking measures
to help hunters identify the otter and distinguish it from other native species.
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3. Peregrine Falcon
An endangered species in South Dakota, the peregrine falcon has no known nesting sites in the state at this time, though it is still prevalent in other areas of the country. Until 1999, the bird was protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. It remains protected under various other laws, although specific and highly limited use by falconers is now being permitted. Projects are currently in the works to help restore the birds to the region. When new falcons are released into the area, they are fitted with markers so that they may be identified, according to the Game Fish and Parks Department
Although a small group of these rare birds still exists in the Black Hills area, it is rare in other parts of the state. It is listed as threatened in South Dakota but is common in other parts of the country. Efforts currently are being made by the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department to restore this species
, although they are considered to be poor candidates for relocating to new areas outside their present nesting area.
This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.
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