President’s message – George Vandel, Pierre
January 28, 2020

It didn’t take long for this issue to change.  We had a conference call on Monday aft. with Sec. Hepler and some of his staff about their ideas for nonresident licensing legislation.  We were provided an overview.  Despite our objections and suggestions discussed during the phone call, I have been informed by GFP that they have finalized and submitted this legislation without any changes.

It would combine the existing 4,000 10-day licenses and the 2,000 3-day licenses into 6,000 nonresident, two 5-day waterfowl licenses valid on public or private land.  There are no ties to additional access.  Nonresident waterfowl hunters would be able to return for a second hunt. North Dakota has a split two 7-day nonresident license and about 20% return for a second hunt – we are likely to observe the same.  Licenses may be distributed by the GFP Commission in up to 3 units.  GFP suggested there would be one unit in the SE (likely similar to the existing unit), one in the NE and one for the remainder of the state.  The 2,000 3-day permits would go away.  The GFP Commission would retain their authority to increase nonresident permits by 5% per year.  Currently the GFP Commission can increase the 4,000 10-day permits by up to 5% per year (or by 200 permits).  If the GFP legislation passes, the Commission could increase the 6,000 two 5-day permits by 5% (or by 300 permits).  I don’t know the details but the application process for nonresidents will also be simplified and made easier.  I haven’t had the time to read the bill but will do so and let you know if I find anything else.

The 3 (unlimited numbers) nonresident waterfowl license options drafted by Russo’s attorneys are all dead.  Also apparently dead is the draft proposal jointly developed by the SDWA and the SD Wildlife Federation (that I sent to you Monday).  There is now one option – the GFP option and it’s safe to assume it is also the Governor’s option.

In my opinion the GFP Legislation and subsequent changes would significantly increase nonresident waterfowl hunting opportunity in SD.  There is nothing in this for the resident waterfowl hunter.  It will increase the number of nonresident hunters, the number of total days they can hunt and provide opportunity for them to come back and hunt twice.  I have been informed that the legislation will be introduced tomorrow, January 29th.

I suggest we have no other option but to strongly oppose it.  Let me know if you feel differently.

Below are copies of the Legislation for you to review.  Once it is assigned a Bill number, I’ll let you know.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions and I will provide you with updates as soon as I can.  Any changes to the bill will now only occur by Legislative action.

The bill will be sponsored by Senator Gary Cammack (Senate AG and Natural Resources Committee Chair) and it’s co-sponsored in the House by Lana Greenfield.  If your Senator is on the Senate Ag, Committee please call them.  It’s now time to start visiting with your local legislators about this bill. 

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

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.