SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – River otters are rare to see in person, but in just ten days South Dakota has reached its river otter harvest limit for 2021.
Game, Fish and Parks reported that 21 otters were trapped in the eastern part of the state.
It is rare to encounter river otters in South Dakota. When a wildlife enthusiast found a family of otters frolicking in the water last month in Sioux Falls, he was amazed.
âThey just followed me up and down the shore; I’ve never seen otters in the wild in South Dakota, âsaid Dan Griffith, a wildlife enthusiast.
The rarity of these otters is one of the reasons the river otter season is such a unique experience for trappers.
âEveryone I spoke to on the phone was very excited to at least have the chance to collect one. The guys were pretty happy when they got it and I think it went pretty well, âsaid Alex Solem, wildlife biologist.
âIt’s something few trappers have never experienced and it’s also a bit of South Dakota history,â said Nick Harrington, director of communications. “That’s what our state was founded on, it was beaver and otter hunting and trapping and it’s really that kind of taking a step back and experiencing what our people did long before we even did. let’s be here. “
The season also allows sport fishing and park officials to gather important information on the river otter population.
âAnytime you have to deal with a species that has just moved off our endangered state list and started a new season, we don’t want to do anything detrimental to them,â Solem said. “It kind of helps us assess how everything is going, how these critters are doing, and then over time we should be able to develop some kind of trend on their population status and give us a better one. preview.”
Each trapper can harvest one otter per year, until the statewide limit is reached. Once they trap this otter, they call the river otter’s number and then the Game Fish and Parks biologist will help them label the carcass correctly.
They don’t yet have specific limits and dates in place for next year’s season, but they will make those decisions after analyzing this year’s data.