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There has been a question of the amount that hunters, anglers, park visitors and wildlife viewers spend while they visit the state. Yet this information is so vitally important that the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks is hoping that a new economic survey and analysis will tell them the exact contribution.

The plan, which was announced at a meeting earlier this month, is to cost the state approximately $40,000. It will be completed by the economic analysis firm Southwick Associates.

According to GFP Administrative Chief, Scott Simpson, the survey and economic analysis is essential. He went on to explain that the survey data that had been quoted before and used by the department is not very accurate.

“The sample size is really small,” Simpson stated after the announcement. “They’re projecting big numbers from a small sample.”

The federal survey, run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is conducted every five years. It is then used by many states to estimate what the economic impact of hunting and fishing has on their respective states and the country as a whole.

The last one released in 2011, estimated that 90.1 million people spent $144.7 billion nationally. According to the same survey, 662,000 people spent $967 million on hunting, fishing and wildlife watching.

Yet during the last survey, several states raised serious questions about the survey.

The new survey will be more detailed than the last one. It will take a look at what the economic impact will be of pheasant hunting in different areas of the state. The survey will look at jobs, wages and business profits as well.

It is hoped that with the data from the new state survey, decision makers will be able to better allocate resources. They will also be able to present economic data to lawmakers when the time comes. The same uses were applied when Alaska conducted a similar survey ten years ago.

The survey should be ready for publication by the middle of summer 2016.

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