CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. (KELO) — Early numbers have been a bit soft so far this year at South Dakota’s state campgrounds, while sales were mixed for hunting and fishing licenses.
The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission received updates Friday.
Camping nights in April were off 16% compared to a year ago. Revenue overall was down 5% on the parks and recreation side for the year.
On the license sales side of the ledger, resident combinations for fishing and small-game were the highest in at least four years at 38,963. Resident small-game were up by nearly double at 4,055.
But fishing sales were down, for residents and nonresidents alike.
Purchases of habitat stamps and small-game licenses by nonresidents were down as well.
Wildlife Division director Tom Kirschenmann said difficult winter weather somewhat affected parks use and license sales.
Kirschenmann was upbeat. “Things are looking strong,” he said.
GFP staff and the public have been reporting they’ve seen more pheasants than anticipated, given the tough winter, according to Kirschenmann. If there’s good moisture and spring vegetation growth, he said, their population should bounce back.
“We could really see some rebound of birds,” Kirschenmann told the commission. “Very optimistic about what we’re seeing out there right now.”