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SD Game, Fish, and Parks increases nonresident waterfowl licenses


South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks commissioners have added over 100 nonresident waterfowl licenses for next season.

The topic was the largest point of contention at the department’s latest commission meeting.

Zach Hunke is the President of the South Dakota Wildlife Federation. He told the commission the proposal faced widespread opposition.

“This year, it came from the commission. As I hope you all are aware, clearly it's what has been said here, the opposition is immense," said Hunke. "Almost 100 percent again this year. It’s not 100 percent, but it's above 90. You’ve got hundreds, of written comments that have come in opposition to this proposal.” 

The commission voted to approve the increase in nonresident waterfowl licenses, but only on private hunting land. They said this is the best compromise for in-state hunters who oppose the increase while still generating a higher revenue in license sales.

GF&P staff also reported low deer numbers in the southeastern part of the state.

Andrew Norton is a Wildlife Program Administrator for GF&P. He said the commission should consider adjusting deer licensing numbers.

“In particular, in southeastern South Dakota, not only where they hit with that severe winter that might have been more severe than we expected, but we also experienced hemorrhagic disease losses in extreme southeastern South Dakota. So, it was king of a double whammy there for the deer. And we were getting a lot of reports a lot of information coming back that suggests the numbers were really low,” said Norton.

Commissioners also heard staff reports for recommendations on increasing big horn sheep and bison hunting licenses.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.