President’s message – George Vandel, Pierre
Monday, February 11, 2019

It appears now that HB 1152 – the “outfitter” bill is struggling.  Rumors are that the sponsors are attempting to change the bill to make it more inclusive and to require regulation of all hunting and fishing “outfitter/guides” in order to make it more appealing to Governor Noem.  Although the bill will appear on the agenda for the Tuesday, February 12th Ag and Natural Resources Committee meeting, public testimony on the bill will likely be postponed until the Thursday, February 14th meeting.

Generally massive changes to a bill this late in the process, with little or no public input, make it very difficult to succeed.  All this has clouded what my testimony will be since I don’t know what the bill will look like or what specifically will involve Committee action?

Based on mixed feedback from our members to support or oppose 1152 (as drafted) the SDWA Board has determined to generally support efforts to license guides and outfitters.  We feel that strong regulations will restrict commercial waterfowl hunting and will in the long term result in fewer lands being leased by “fly-by-night” waterfowl guides. Thus providing more opportunity for resident waterfowl hunters.

If things change I’ll put out another alert.

Thanks to those of you who provided feedback on this issue – your comments and willingness to provide me with input were (and are) greatly appreciated!

Our main issues 1) expanding and increasing quality waterfowl hunting access opportunities in South Dakota 2) maintaining quality waterfowl hunting in our state by balancing nonresident waterfowl hunter numbers such that they not create undue conflicts with resident waterfowl hunters and 3) to ensure that commercialization of waterfowl hunting in South Dakota remains low.

Board: John Simpson – Pierre, Spencer Vaa – Brookings, Tom Yseth – Brookings and Bill Koupal – Pierre.  Bobby Cox will serve as Secretary Treasurer and Chuck Dieter will serve as Past-president.