- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - More tags may be available to deer hunters in South Dakota during the 2016 deer season under proposals presented this week to the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission.

The deer population is continuing to rebound from a series of bad winters starting in 2010, the Pierre Capital Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1ZqgLRT ).

“We’ve had some very nice, mild winters that we think equate to good news for our deer populations,” said senior big game biologist Andy Lindbloom. Survival rates for whitetail deer fawns were around 70 percent in 2015, and the juvenile survival rate was about 80 percent. Adult doe survival was about 86 percent, Lindbloom said.

For hunters, that means more licenses and tags in the deer hunting units where the management goal is to maintain the population. Two West River deer units, 15A and 15B, would be managed for a shrinking population of whitetails.

Lindbloom said mule deer populations are also growing, though more slowly. Fawn survival rates in 2015 were about 57 percent, while juvenile survival was 80 percent and the adult doe survival rate was around 90 percent.

The East River deer season proposal would add 10,130 tags more than in 2015, including 330 additional buck and 9,800 doe tags. The tags will be split between 29,080 licenses divided among the 47 East River deer hunting units based on deer population estimates, survival rates and other factors.

The number of West River buck deer tags would increase 4 percent to 16,480 under the proposal, with doe tags jumping from 3,755 tags to 8,705 tags.

The Black Hills deer season would see an increase of 400 resident and 32 nonresident antlerless whitetail deer licenses under the 2016 season proposal. The number of antlerless deer units in the Black Hills would be reduced to two.

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Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, http://www.capjournal.com

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