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The Game, Fish and Parks Commission are in good stead at the moment. More non-resident hunters have come to the state and purchased small-game licenses this fall.

In October alone, approximately 4,200 more non-resident hunters purchased licenses than during the same period last month. This is worth over $500,000 of additional revenue to the commission. The total number of non-resident small game licenses sold before October 27 was 47,264, and this is worth $5.7 million.

Although no results have been published as yet, it is highly likely that sales across youth small game, annual shoot preserve, five day shooting preserve and one-day shooting preserve have also improved.

One of the reasons why non residents have been coming to the state is the reported population increases that have been seen this year. In August, the brood counts were up 42% from 2014 and even though the number was down 30% from the 10 year average, there is a positive spirit among hunters.

“We’ve got a little debate about how much it’s going to be up,” Scott Simpson, a state Division of Wildlife official stated. “It’s encouraging that we are up.” Simpson also joked that he had to wait for his supper a few nights ago because the restaurant was so busy with out-of-town hunters.

License sales have been down in the last few years. Nonresident licenses topped 103,231 in 2007 but reached a low in 2013 with just 79,636 sales.

Sales for residential licenses were also up this year. In 2014, there were 44,564; this year there have been 46,571 in the same period. Hunter success was also great. Many have stated that bag limits have been achieved very early each day.

Even the late season hunting opportunities are going to be strong. Especially as the cooler and wetter weather comes to the state that allows dogs to pick up the scent easier and makes pheasants congregate together.

Are you a non resident hunter in South Dakota? How has your hunting experience been?

Let us know in the comments below.

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