For Immediate Release
February 30, 2017
State Waterfowlers Ask GF&P to Cut Nonresident Licenses
Two organizations representing state waterfowl hunters, the South Dakota Wildlife Federation and the South Dakota Waterfowl Association, are asking the Game Fish and Parks Commission to cut the number of nonresident waterfowl licenses.
“In spite of record numbers of waterfowl, residents have seen a dramatic loss in the opportunity to hunt them,” says George Vandel, vice-president of the South Dakota Waterfowl Association. “As a result, we have lost one third of our resident waterfowl hunters in the last 15 years.”
According to Department of Game Fish and Parks statistics, the number of resident waterfowl hunters has plummeted from 43,500 in 2001 to 30,000 in 2015. The most recent department survey showed that a primary reason for the rapid decline was a loss in the opportunity to hunt.
Chris Hesla, executive director of the South Dakota Wildlife Federation, says the opportunity to hunt isn’t as simple as counting the number of birds produced each year. “You have to have adequate water, access to the water or the adjacent fields and limited hunting pressure. If any one of the four is missing, you don’t have opportunity.”
The South Dakota Waterfowl Association and the South Dakota Wildlife Federation are not opposed to nonresident waterfowl hunters, says Vandel. “We are, however, opposed to numbers of nonresidents that exceed the state’s ability to offer a quality hunting experience for its residents. It’s the same position taken by South Dakota and every other state when they award a vastly disproportionate number of big game licenses to residents than they do to nonresidents.”
In their formal request to the commission, which meets in Pierre on March 1 and 2, the organizations has asked the commission to:
- Eliminate all three-day waterfowl licenses with the exception of 500 that are restricted to private land in the Missouri River unit
- Limit the number of 10-day nonresident licenses each year to eight percent of the average number of resident waterfowl licenses sold in the prior three-years. (This change would make nonresident waterfowl licenses consistent with nonresident big game licenses.)
Chris Hesla, executive director of the South Dakota Wildlife Federation: 605-224-7524
George Vandel, vice-president of the South Dakota Waterfowl Association: 605-295-2880