Getting more families outside is one thing. But doing it through a bounty on the tails of wildlife to boost the pheasant population, is quite another. One-quarter of South Dakotans hunt & trap. That means 75% don’t.
The income realized from pheasant season is a drop in the bucket compared to the benefits of wildlife-watching tourism in S.D.
According to 2019 statistics from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, S.D.’s total outdoor recreational spending is $1.3 billion. Of that, all S.D. hunting & trapping expenditures come to $24 million — a paltry 1.8% of total outdoor recreational spending.
Economics aside, sound science has discredited the notion that killing one species to grow the population of another works. Trapping is in decline.
SDGFP should look at innovative options like the selling of passports to park visitors, as Colorado is doing. A goal we can get behind and invest in in the future.