President’s message – George Vandel, Pierre
February 19, 2020

SB 150, the bill to increase nonresident waterfowl hunting opportunity was significantly amended on the Senate floor this afternoon.  The amended bill’s only change from the original statute (the one on the books pre-session) is to modify the 3,775 nonresident licenses (the 3,750 statewide license plus the 25 Bennett County permits) into two 5-day permits rather than 10 continuous days.  All the other modifications, the 2,000 3-day into two 5-day, the elimination of the season-long license in the SE unit, the elimination of zones and the deletion of the lottery draw etc. are now gone.  Most of our objections are now gone.

Due to the significant change the amendment made from the Committee passed bill, final action on SB 150 will be held over until Monday so that all involved can digest the amendment’s major change.

Your calls and e-mails made a big difference!  Most of the Senators were convinced that the bill, as written and as we clearly articulated, would increase nonresident opportunity and thus negatively impact resident waterfowl hunters.

Bottom line, we won today – they didn’t pass the bad bill out of the Senate!

The bill as amended, is supported by GFP, the Governor and Flatland Flyways.  Several Senators, friends of ours, people that you contacted, worked hard today to secure support on the Senate floor to pass this amendment.

I suggest that we take some time and not make a quick decision to support the amended bill.  I’m going to visit with our Wildlife Federation friends and our Board for some input on how to proceed – don’t hesitate to let me know how you feel.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to contact your Senators – we had an impact!  Have a cold one tonight! You earned it!

Call or text me at 605-295-2880 or e-mail me direct at gvan3@pie.midco.net if you have questions.

Our main issues 1) expand and increase quality waterfowl hunting access opportunities in South Dakota 2) maintain 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) 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.