Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

While it comes as no surprise to local residents in the state, a report issued by the Outdoor Industry Association has published a report stating just how much of an impact hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities have on the economy. According to the Rapid City Journal, the report states that outdoor activities bring in $4.7 billion each year and influence nearly 48,000 jobs directly in South Dakota. The total amount represents everything from gear and licenses to hotel rooms and restaurant visits.

To read up on past and current news articles related to the outdoors activities in the region, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive link.

For more information on some outdoor activities in the Black Hills, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Issue Hub webpage.

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After hearing reports of wildlife consuming feed intended for livestock, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks is offering assistance in the form of stock feed, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Wildlife such as deer and elk often consume three percent of their body weight daily, which can result in large losses of livestock feed.

The department is also offering assistance in keeping animals away from livestock feedlots, and in some cases kill permits. Such efforts assist by reducing the total population of the herd, but also aid in dispersing the animals.

Those in need of assistance from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks should contact their wildlife damage specialist or local conservation officer.

To read more recent news about wildlife in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

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Wildlife officials from Wind Cave National Park are reporting progress in efforts to cull the elk population in the park, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. To date, an estimated 175 elk have been killed. Approximately 525-550 elk were in the park prior to the cull, and officials hope to reduce the number to 230-250 total elk.

This year is the first in which wildlife outside of the park have been prevented from entering the park during the cull. High fences were installed as a deterrent. Officials hope that the final count will be more accurate as a result.

Wildlife scientists hope to reduce the occurrence of Chronic Wasting Disease through culling efforts. Experts will follow the elk herd in coming years to determine if the reduction in population had a positive effect on the rate of the disease.

To read more news about Wind Cave National Park, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

Published in News
Thursday, 26 January 2017 00:15

D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery Welcomes New Curator

April Gregory was recently hired as the curator for the D.C .Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The position had been vacant for over two years.

Gregory has strong ties to the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery. In 2009, she began working with the hatchery as an intern with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Just two years later, she was selected to serve as the executive director of the Booth Society, a nonprofit which promotes the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery.

Gregory officially resigned her post as executive director for the Booth Society on January 7 and began work as curator on January 9, 2017. As curator, Gregory hopes to provide visitors of the hatchery with an understanding of the importance of waterways and hatcheries.

To read more news from Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has posted a museum curator position for the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. A candidate is expected to be selected by mid-January.

The hatchery has not had a curator in over two years. The hiring announcement was somewhat surprising to hatchery director Carlos Martinez, as the hatchery has faced numerous closure threats over the past five years. However, Martinez was recently informed that U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials believed the hatchery serves an important role as a flagship facility for the agency.

The D.C. Booth Hatchery accommodates over 160,000 visitors each year and hosts nearly 15,00 artifacts in its archives.

To read more news from Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

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As a component of restructuring how Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary continues to operate, new board president Dr. Tina Brents-Barnhart announced that the sanctuary would shift its focus from animal rescue to community education and awareness. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, the organization will continue caring for the animals already there, but will shift to education on permaculture and agroforestry.

In 2017, the sanctuary hopes to implement several educational gardens and ecosystems through partnerships with Black Hills State University and South Dakota State University – Extension. School tours will be planned to teach children about plant propagation through hands-on experience.

To read more about the Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

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Several of South Dakota’s newest herd of big horn sheep have tested positive for bacteria which cause pneumonia, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Currently, experts are trying to determine where the sheep contracted the disease. The herd was scheduled for augmentation, which has now been placed on hold until the animals are found to be free of the deadly bacteria.

Contact with a domestic animal outside of the herd would have been necessary to contract the disease. Wildlife officials are aware of contact with a sheep from outside the herd, but the animal later tested negative for the pathogen in question.

To read more about wildlife in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

Published in News
Friday, 25 November 2016 16:27

Black Hills Turkey Population Remains Robust

The turkey population in the Black Hills remains high, although a decline has been seen across South Dakota, reports the Rapid City Journal. A lack of available space for nesting as a primary reason for the drop in the turkey population.

Due to the decline in population, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks officials are reducing the amount of turkey tags issued in the spring. One-tag male turkey licenses will be reduced by 52 while two=tag male turkey licenses will be reduced by 600.

To read more news about wildlife in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

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This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center in Colorado released nine black-footed ferrets into Wind Cave National Park, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The release of the ferrets is part of the park’s effort to reintroduce the endangered animal into the southern portion of the park.

According to park surveys from September and October, there are approximately 25-30 ferrets already in the park, although the projection may be low as the mammals are nocturnal, making them difficult to accurately count. The nine ferrets released this week were preconditioned to be able to hunt and avoid predators.

To read more about wildlife in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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Researchers have begun to do studies on why the elk herd in Wind Cave National Park has decreased so fast and so soon. According to the Rapid City Journal, the animals caught will be tested for chronic wasting disease as it is believed to be the cause. Current proposals to help eliminate the disease in the herd also include culling it down significantly in the near future.

To read up on past news articles related to the elk herd as well as the outdoors in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.

For more information on outdoor opportunities in the Black Hills, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network resouce page.

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Five bighorn sheep from a herd of 26 has South Dakota Game Fish and Parks officials concerned, reports the Rapid City Journal. The sheep were moved to Deadwood from Canada by state GF&P officials along with numerous volunteers.

The deaths of each sheep have been determined, with the exception of the most recent death which occurred last week. Two of the sheep died from accidents, while the others suffered from disease or old age. Results from the latest sheep death may have a large impact, as a strain of pneumonia was recently detected in bighorn sheep.

To read more about wildlife in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

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On the last week of July in 1931, swarms of grasshoppers decimated croplands throughout Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. The Great Plains, already suffering from an extreme drought, saw millions of acres fall victim to this small yet mighty pest. According to historical archives, the July 1931 swarm was said to be so thick that it “blocked out the sun and one could shovel the grasshoppers with a scoop”. Fields of crops, especially corn, were razed to the ground by these insects. Rosebud and south central South Dakota were the most affected areas of the state according to the Huron Daily Plainsman.

East River was left relatively unscathed by the swarms. Many newspapers of the day, including the Aberdeen News and the Redfield Journal-Observer, proposed that the pheasant population maintained a check on the grasshopper populations in the eastern region of the state. One notable op-ed stated "For this, the residents of large areas in South Dakota owe a debt of gratitude to the much maligned pheasant. This year, he is demonstrating his excuse for being. "

Grasshopper and locusts swarms have not been seen in the United States since the 1930s.

For more insights on how a swarm of grasshoppers or locusts behave, see this description by Professor Jeff Lockwood of the University of Wyoming. 

Interested in other insect pests in South Dakota? Check out our resource page on the Mountain Pine Beetle.

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Officials from the Game, Fish, and Parks Department are proposing to nearly double the amount of elk licenses available in the Black Hills. However, according to the Rapid City Journal article, most of the new licenses would be antlerless-only tags. This proposal is the result of the department determining that the elk herds require more culling to keep their growing numbers in check.

Click on this archives link for past news articles related to the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department.

For more information on the department itself, check out the GF&P homepage.

Check out this Knowledge Network resource page for information on hunting and fishing opportunities in the Black Hills.

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The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department released a 211-page resources management plan for Custer State Park governing management practices from 2010-2025 on Jan. 12, 2016, with 30 days for public comment, reports KOTA-TV and a GF&P news release

The plan addresses forestry, rangeland, fire, wildlife and bison management. It calls for increasing prescribed burns from 1,500 acres per year to 3,700 acres per year. It also calls for keeping older bison cows in the park's herd, since the older cows play a leadership role in matriarchal buffalo society. Cows had been sold once they reached 10 years old. 

Find the complete plan online and attached to this post as a .pdf document. 

Comments can be submitted to GF&P through Feb. 12 by emailing [email protected] or writing to: 

Custer State Park Resource Plan

13329 US Hwy 16A

Custer, SD 57730 

 

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

 

Published in News
Wednesday, 23 December 2015 00:00

Pine Ridge Bird Count Set For Jan. 2

The Audubon Society annual bird count on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is set for Jan. 2. It will begin with a 7 a.m. rendezvous at Big Bat’s on the main corner of Pine Ridge Village, the Prairie Hills Audubon Society announced.

The event is part of an admission-free annual activity that has been taking place around the Americas for 114 years and got off the ground at Pine Ridge with a trial-run three years ago.

It enables citizen scientists to collect data critical for bird conservation, while providing opportunities for participants to familiarize themselves with local surroundings.

In case of bad weather, the Pine Ridge count date will be on Jan. 3. For more information, contact Peter Hill at (605) 595-3715, or [email protected] Overnight lodging might be available. 

Published in News
During the final decades of the 1800s, North America's buffalo population dwindled to 500. A few private ranchers gathered some of the remaining animals to keep small herds alive. 
Many of these animals ended up in the ownership of the New York Zoological Society, housed at the Bronx Zoo. 
On Dec. 8, 1905, a group of 16 people, including  Theodore Roosevelt, gathered at the zoo and formed the American Bison Society. Their goal was to re-establish buffalo herds on the Great Plains, including South Dakota.
Wind Cave National Park was established in 1910. The following year, the release of a study and the support of Seth Bullock, then the park's supervisor, ignited efforts to send a small herd to the southern Black Hills. 
On Nov. 24, 1913, 14 animals (seven males and seven females) were crated and loaded onto a train in New York. On Nov. 28, that train arrived 2,000 miles away in Hot Springs. Local volunteers donated the use of wagons to haul the crates the final leg of the journey. 
In the evening darkness, the animals were not eager to leave their crates. 
"...we had a good deal of trouble in getting some of the bison out of their crates," reads an American Bison Society report. "In several cases the operation was more like removing the crate from the animal than the animal from the crate." 
The animals soon adapted to their new home. By the end of 1913, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture declared that, "The future of the species now seems assured." 
 
Published in Home

Game, Fish, and Parks (GF&P) plans to offer non-resident hunting licenses for mountain lions at a cost of $121 during the hunting season, which runs from December 26, 2015 to March 31, 2016. According to a Rapid City Journal article, this has upset many Black Hills residents, as the fee would be the same for a non-residents to hunt pheasants. The Commission held a 90 minute session on Thursday, October 1, to listen to opposers of the plan.

GF&P has also lowered the quota for this hunting season to 60 animals or 40 females, whichever comes first. This is in response to a lowered mountain lion population. Many, however, are concerned about overhunting and potentially losing the species as a whole in the area. GF&P's goal is to have a population of 175 mountain lions, and it is estimated the number of animals has declined below that. Some have said there should be no mountain lion hunting season at all this year.

For more news on GF&P, visit our online archives.

Published in News
Monday, 24 August 2015 00:00

Video Captures Grey Wolf in Black Hills

Game, Fish & Parks officials say Black Hills residents should not worry about a video showing a grey wolf walking through an area of the Black Hills, reports South Dakota Public Radio. 

The GF&P acknowledges the video shows a wolf in the Black Hills, but they say it is likely to the animal is a young male passing through the region. Wolves are rare in South Dakota, and there is no evidence of a pack of wolves or of the animals breeding here, according to the GF&P.

The animals, on the brink of extinction in the 1970s, have federal protection. It is illegal to harm them. 

Here is the video: 

 

 

Read more about the video and debate about wolves on the Trail Mob website. See more coverage of wolves in the Black Hills on the Black Hills Knowledge Network.

 

 

Published in News
Thursday, 13 August 2015 00:00

Bat Festival Returns to Custer State Park

The South Dakota Bat Working Group will host its tenth Bat Festival at Custer State Park's Tatanka Theater on at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, reports the Rapid City Journal

The free event includes refreshments, a bat presentation, educational displays and crafts for kids. After the presentation, "bat-detectors" will be used to listen to bats flying overhead in the campground.

Bat Festival T-shirts are available. 

Read more about Custer State Park on the Black Hills Knowledge Network

 

Published in News
Thursday, 06 August 2015 00:00

Mountain Lion Limit May Change For 2016

The South Dakota Wildlife Division is recommending the harvest limit for mountain lions for the 2016 season be reduced, among other recommended changes, at this week’s Game, Fish and Parks Commission meeting in Aberdeen, reports the Black Hills Pioneer.

In both 2014 and 2015, the limit was set at 75 total lions or 50 females, whichever was met first. 2015 saw 21 males and 22 females killed, and 2014 reported 22 males and 31 females. The Wildlife Division is recommending that the 2016 season limit be lowered to 60 total lions or 40 females. They are also recommending that non-resident tags be made available for the first time, with a total of 250 licenses priced at $121. Up until now, only South Dakota residents were able to purchase mountain lion licenses for a fee of $28.

Also discussed at the meeting are possible changes for 2016 in Custer State Park hunts.

A proposal for the possible changes will be finalized this week, and a public hearing regarding the lion season proposal will be held at the Game, Fish and Parks Commission’s next meeting in October.

For more information, visit the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks website or the Black Hills Knowledge Network archive.

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525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]