PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is getting $240,250 for the 2021 bighorn sheep hunting license that recently was sold to the highest bidder.
The Game, Fish and Parks Commission received the news from John Kanta, western regional supervisor for the state Wildlife Division.
“I’m happy to report we had another great auction,” Kanta told the commission.
The sale occurred through the Midwest Wild Sheep Foundation.
The Minnesota-based organization also sold the 2020 South Dakota bighorn license for $312,000. That was a record amount for a South Dakota bighorn license.
In previous years, GFP’s revenue from the auction license and other sheep-related sales generated from $61,600 to $109.750 for South Dakota’s program.
GFP holds a residents-only drawing for seven other bighorn licenses. The 2021 licenses cost $280 apiece, plus a $10 non-refundable application fee.
The seven are spread among four specific hunting units, including one for Custer State Park in the southern Black Hills. Nearly 5,000 South Dakota hunters applied this year for six Black Hills tags and the department received 3,159 applications for the Custer State Park tag.
The auction license can be used in the Elk Mountain and Hell Canyon hunting units. Kanta said individuals bid for the auction license at the foundation’s banquet, over the phone, and online.
Governor Kristi Noem agreed beforehand, he said, that the high bidder could accompany her on the governor’s pheasant hunt the fourth Saturday of October or at the Custer State Park buffalo roundup earlier in the fall, or both.
Part of the proceeds — $85,000 — will go to GFP’s bighorn sheep fund and the remaining $155,250 will be split between GFP’s game-production area management and the state’s Second Century Habitat Fund.
“We’re already starting to think about next year and how we can improve or do things differently and make this better and hopefully raise some record-setting money,” Kanta said.
One consideration will be whether the Midwest Wild Sheep Foundation remains the right place to auction the license. “Do we continue with them, or should we pursue some other avenues?” he said.
The 2021 high bidder is from Las Vegas, Nevada, but the name is being withheld, according to Kanta.