Great Backyard Bird Count Returns Feb. 15-18

PIERRE — Millions of novice and accomplished bird watchers can make their love of nature count for science during the 22nd Annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

On Feb. 15-18, anyone can count birds wherever they are and enter their results online. These reports create a real-time picture of where birds are across the continent and contribute valuable information for science and conservation.

“During the count, bird watchers tally up birds for as little as 15 minutes, or for as long as they like, keeping track of the highest number of each bird species they see together at one time,” said Eileen Dowd Stukel, wildlife diversity coordinator for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP). “People are encouraged to report birds from public lands, local parks and their own backyards.”

Participants enter their numbers online at where they can explore sightings maps, lists and charts as the count progresses.

During the 2018 count, South Dakota counters reported 82 species on 255 checklists. The highest species counts in the state were for Canada goose, mallard, horned lark, and red-winged blackbird. Hughes County had the highest number of species at 44, with Brookings, Yankton, Lawrence, and Clay counties not far behind.

There is no fee to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. The event is led by the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and Bird Studies Canada.

Summer Camping Reservations Open Soon In S.D. State Parks

PIERRE — February 16 is the first day to make camping reservations for a Friday, May 17, arrival – the State Parks’ Open House Weekend and traditional kick-off to the summer season.

Reservations for other summer dates will follow in succession, becoming available 90 days before arrival; over 40 parks offer camping reservations on the 90-day schedule. The exception is Custer State Park, which offers reservations one year before arrival.

State Parks Director Katie Ceroll encourages campers to keep an eye on the calendar and make reservations for camping trips as soon as possible. Memorial Day reservations open February 23 for a Friday arrival, and campers can reserve for Father’s Day weekend starting March 16.

New this year, campers can now reserve handicap campsites online by providing their ADA/Handicap Placard ID. In the past, those reservations had to be made by phone.

Campsites become available at 7 a.m. Central Time on the first day of the 90-day window, but reservations for available campsites can be made until the day you arrive.

Reservations can be made online at or by calling 1.800.710.2267. Taxes and reservation fees may apply.

Neb. G&P To Conduct Three Hunter Surveys In Coming Weeks

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will conduct several hunter surveys in the coming weeks to estimate harvest for various game species, determine hunter participation and satisfaction, and obtain hunter opinions.

The first survey is the annual Hunter Success Survey, which is sent to all small game hunt permit buyers who provided an email address to Game and Parks at the time of purchase. Hunters who did not receive the invitation to participate in their email inbox can visit if they wish to participate in this survey.

Hunters will be asked questions related to their 2018 upland and small game, and waterfowl hunting activity and experiences. It is important that hunters who were not successful complete the survey as well, to improve the accuracy of the harvest estimates.

The second survey is the fall 2018 turkey hunter survey, which will be sent to all permitees who provided an email address at the time of purchase. The survey also will be available on Game and Parks’ website at for those fall turkey hunters who do not receive an invitation.

In addition, waterfowl hunters may receive a postcard invitation to participate in a survey regarding their preferences and satisfaction from their 2018/19 waterfowl hunting season.

S.D. GF&P Accepting Proposals For Roy Lake Resort Concession Operator

PIERRE — According to the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP), entrepreneurs interested in operating Roy Lake Resort located within Roy Lake State Park in northeastern South Dakota can now begin submitting their proposals.

The prospectus for the operation of Roy Lake Resort is now available online and through the Department of Game, Fish and Parks. The prospectus details the terms and conditions under which interested operators may submit a proposal for consideration.

Proposals are due April 15, 2019.

A copy of the prospectus is available by contacting the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Division of Parks and Recreation at 523 East Capitol, Pierre, SD 57501 or at 605.773.3391. Printable versions of the prospectus are also available for free download from the Game, Fish and Parks website.

Roy Lake State Park is located 10 miles southeast of Lake City or 25 miles north of Webster of Highway 10.

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