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GF&P To Consider Hunting, Fishing, Camping Fee Increases

November 5, 2013, 10:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

GF&P To Consider Hunting, Fishing, Camping Fee Increases

It could cost you a little more to hunt, fish and camp in South Dakota next year.

It's a proposal South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks commissioners will consider at a meeting later this week.

Under the proposal, resident pheasant hunters would pay $3 more for an annual license. For most deer, you're looking at $4 more.

A fishing license would also increase a few dollars. Camping at a state park, for the most part, would be less than $2 additional. There are other proposed increases, as well.

People use Fisher Grove State Park in Spink County and land surrounding it for all those purposes. Manager Chuck Halbert doesn't expect to hear any complaints should commissioners approve the changes.

"We had a very good year this year. We were filled on every weekend and I don't think it'll change anything at all," Halbert said.

Game, Fish & Parks officials say the increase would help the department meet its budget. It's already made cuts to help that happen.

There are some fee increases proposed for non-residents too, including fees for fishing and deer hunting. Out-of-state pheasant hunters won't see a fee increase because they just did.

Ed Ericson didn’t seem to mind.

"Well this is our 25th year out here. We've come out with big and small groups of guys and the fee increase doesn't even phase us. What you get for the money is far superior to any place else that we've hunted," Ericson said.

Many in-state outdoors enthusiasts may be OK with the increases as well. According to Game, Fish & Parks, it's only received feedback from about a dozen people.

Department officials expect the hunting and fishing fee increases would generate more than $2 million. The camping fees could bring in more than $600,000 in additional revenue.

According to the proposal before commissioners, the Department of Game, Fish & Parks faces increased costs of health care and salaries. It also says the department is adjusting for inflation.

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