GFP Proposes Governor’s ‘Nest Bounty Program For Trapping Predators Of South Dakota Game Birds

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The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission proposed new trapping rules Friday for Governor Kristi Noem’s new nest-predator bounty program.

Keith Fisk said raccoon, skunk, possum, badger and red fox would be eligible for a bounty of $10 per tail. The program would run year-round.

The new governor wants to reduce animals that raid nests of game birds such as pheasants, grouse and waterfowl. Fisk is animal-damage prevention coordinator for the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

“Hopefully encourage a lot of youth to get out there and get excited,” he told commissioners. “We’re excited about the program. It’s going to launch here on April 1.”

That means for the first month or so the department’s conservation officers will be operating without some of the necessary rules.

The commission scheduled a public hearing April 4 at 2 p.m. MT on the GFP Outdoor Campus complex in Rapid City. The plan also needs approval from the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee. If the lawmakers give the green light, the rules would take effect 20 days later.

Fisk estimated bounties in the first year would cost $400,000 to $500,000 and be paid from “sportsmen’s dollars.”

The commission watched a video Thursday from Governor Noem and her lieutenant governor, Larry Rhoden, about her Second Century Initiative for more wildlife habitat.

State Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler told the commission Friday the new administration wants “people engaged” in the outdoors.

“That’s what the message is,” Hepler said. “This is a positive thing.”

Only South Dakota residents could participate and they would have to swear that animals they present for bounties were taken in South Dakota.

People who can’t attend the hearing can comment online at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or mail their comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501.

Comments must be received no later than March 31 for the commission to consider and must include a full name and city of residence.

As another piece of Noem’s habitat-improvement program, the commission also proposed Friday that traps and snares be allowed on on public lands and improved rights-of-way through August 31.

The current rule allows trapping on these lands through May 1. Current rule allows for trapping on these lands through May 1.

Owners of traps and snares would have to actively operate and check equipment.

That public hearing also is set for April 4 in Rapid City.
 

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