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News Articles

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This headline could be rewritten nearly every year it seems.

Things aren’t looking good for residents or nonresidents. The fee for pheasant hunters is one of the targets for the potential increase.

The department has a job to do and that’s fine. They are trying to make sure they can sustain their operations while not discouraging hunters both in the state and out of the state from participating. But things have been going down for the past few years. There are fewer hunters taking part today than there were in past years and that’s been one of the issues for the department.

One of the interesting notes from the article is the fact that since 2002 the number of nonresident pheasant hunters has exceeded the number of resident hunters in South Dakota. One of the possibilities mentioned is that only the nonresident fees could be increased. This is a risky move, but it could accomplish what the department is trying to do.

The idea would be that the current nonresident fee is actually underpriced. South Dakota is known to those around the world as the best place to go for pheasant hunting. When the weather is good and the bird counts are up like they are in 2012 it’s good for the South Dakota economy. The current price of the fees for nonresidents might be too low and that’s what the commission will need to determine.

There will always be angst when the mention of fee increases occurs, but it is something that seems to happen and the changes are never small. Maybe it would be wise to implement a more gradual and consistent approach to the fee increases. Many other items people pay for seem to creep up in price to keep pace with inflation and demand. People like consistency are seem less likely to cause a stir when things happen over time while big changes cause issue.

The next couple weeks should bring more light to the potential fee increases for South Dakota pheasant hunters. Stay tuned for updates.

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