Pierre, S.D. April 12, 2023. Opening the door to additional nonresident waterfowl hunters would see a further erosion of South Dakota resident waterfowl hunting opportunity and access. South Dakota Wildlife Federation requests that the Game Fish and Parks Commission at their April 13th and 14th meeting in Brookings request the Department of Game, Fish and Parks to work with hunters and the SDWF to come up with an alternative proposal on waterfowl hunting opportunity, access and license availability that does not increase the number of non-resident licenses.
The number of non-resident licenses (16,000) is at an all time high. While the number of resident waterfowl hunters continues to decline according to the 2008 GFP study. The two main reasons they cited in reducing their waterfowl hunting were difficulty in finding a place to hunt and conditions were to crowded.
Data from the GFP indicated that almost half (48%) of the waterfowl hunting that occurs in SD is in a 5-county area (Brown, Clark, Day, Marshall, and Roberts), with technology available today in identifying flocks of birds and land ownership, it is easy to see why the overcrowding conditions materialize in a very short period of time.
Resident waterfowl hunters contribute to the economy far more than non-resident hunters. South Dakota hunters buy pickups, SUV’s, boats, motors and trailers in South Dakota. They license, fuel, and maintain this equipment and pay state taxes on all these costs. In addition, the hunting supplies and groceries purchased by local hunters far exceed the non-resident hunter.
Zach Hunke President of the SDWF reminds the commission that several years ago a plan was developed to open access to Waterfowl Production Area’s and other state owned land to allow increased waterfowl hunting access. “When hunters don’t have access year after year, they tend to find other pursuits, and we’ve seen opportunity decline the past several years due to the increased concentration of birds in just a few counties with access being limited.” Increasing non-resident licenses will only exacerbate this problem.”
Further commercial exploitation to attract non-resident waterfowl hunters will further magnify the problem for both resident and non-resident hunters. With an expansion of additional non-resident licenses we expect out of state commercial outfitters to further erode opportunities for resident hunters.
"Providing the waterfowl hunting experience to people that live and work in South Dakota is not only a generational experience it is one that should be protected.” Executive Director of the SDWF, Megan Howell commented. She went on to say, “South Dakota is one of the premier waterfowl hunting states in North America and the SDWF would like to work with the Commission to make sure there is access and opportunity for resident hunters to continue this hunting tradition."
For additional Information:
Executive Director SDWF
605 483 0895
605 881 6745