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Earlier this fall there was chatter about the potential increase of certain hunting fees and licenses in South Dakota.

The details of those increases have now become official. The target for the increases was the non-resident hunter.

This is big news for the state especially for the small businesses that depend on the influx of non-resident hunters each year for revenue.

Pricing is always a sensitive subject. The folks that depend on non-residents for revenue including outfitters and related local businesses have the argument that their customers can’t handle big increases. There are plenty of regular families like fathers and sons that visit the state and as the cost of each license gets into the hundreds of dollars range it can be difficult for the working man and woman to afford on top of the other costs associated with getting to the state and finding a place to hunt.

The state depends on the revenues from the licenses too and increases are necessary to offset increasing costs and inflation. There might not be an answer to the issue, but the big increases of 10% or more in a single year are difficult for people to prepare for and understand.

Something that might work would be to increase the prices at a small rate each season similar to the rate of inflation. It’s always tricky dealing with pricing that is not tied to the demand of the licenses. The government is setting the pricing and it’s more of a guessing game than anything.

Non-resident hunting, especially non-resident pheasant hunting, is a big part of the South Dakota hunting community. Those hunters love coming to the state to enjoy the best pheasant hunting in the world and the businesses love having them in the area for the revenue they bring.

Hopefully the increases won’t change demand too much this year and beyond.

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