PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota trappers lost an advocate when Brian Reynolds died unexpectedly on May 9 in Monroe. The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission will review a petition Thursday submitted by Reynolds before his death calling for the repeal of rules he found restrictive.
“Brian worked so hard to keep it fair and right for the hunters and trappers of South Dakota,” said Reynolds’ life partner Kim Geier.
One of the contested rules prohibits setting a trap within 30 feet of water for part of the year. Another requires the removal of all traps from public land by May 1 each year.
The commission will meet by teleconference to review three rules, two of which were last modified in 2012.
The South Dakota Trappers Association and Western South Dakota Fur Harvesters supported the rule changes, said Commission Chairman John Cooper.
But Reynolds, unsatisfied with the policies, became the sole signatory on the petition.
“He pretty much did it on his own. He had friends to support him. But he was the instigator,” Geier said.
Director of the Wildlife Division Tony Leif says Reynolds’ feedback has been valuable to the department over the years. Leif didn’t know Reynolds personally, but said his intelligence and passion were apparent.
“Mr. Reynolds was a very bright and very articulate individual,” Leif said. “We need to hear from people with their opinions of the management programs we have and the rules the commission passes to implement these programs.”
State Rep. Peggy Gibson said at times Reynolds’ interest in the department was considered adversarial. The Huron Democrat worked with him and other trappers on proposed legislation in 2011.
Gibson said Reynolds, who made his living as a trapper, monitored Game, Fish and Parks laws and communicated with her and other officials.
Before working with Gibson, Reynolds helped push for a non-resident reciprocity policy for South Dakota and other states. Because Minnesota does not permit out-of-state trappers, Minnesota trappers cannot trap in South Dakota.
“Fur trappers are a breed unto themselves. They’re like your mountain men,” Gibson said. “They don’t want a lot of interference. They just want to do their jobs.”
Reynolds, 55, had a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and served in the U.S. Marines Corps. He designed some of his own traps and produced high quality furs.
Geier said in the winter cold, Reynolds would sit by a wood burner, working with the garage door up. She said he liked to listen to smooth jazz and would chat with anyone who stopped by.
“He educated people,” Geier said. “He was an educator and a mentor in the fur market to young and old.”
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