Slob hunters a-plenty: in a 24-hour checkpoint on I-90 near White Lake Sunday and Monday, Game Fish & Parks and assisting agencies caught hunters breaking South Dakota’s hunting rules at a rate of one violation for every 8.5 hunters:
According to preliminary stats from the stop, 3,342 vehicles entered the road check and about 80 percent of those went through with no game or fish. Twenty percent, or 679 vehicles, went through with game or fish, and 1,253 hunters or anglers were checked.
Officers tallied 147 violations, many of which were unlawful transportation of big and small game, illegal possession of big and small game, no license, over the limit and incorrectly transporting wildlife [Luke Hagen, “24-Hour Game Stop Nabs 147 Violations,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2015.11.16].
Sure to turn conscientious hunters’ stomachs: occupants of one vehicle saw the checkpoint coming and threw pheasants out their window to avoid being cited.
Curious: what’s the rate of lawbreaking among participants in other recreational activities in South Dakota? One study finds that one fifth of alcohol drinkers report driving while near or above the legal limit, but that misbehavior is spread out over an entire year. A June 2015 sobriety checkpoint near Sioux Falls produced three DUI arrests out of 1,950 people stopped. A Halloween 2014 checkpoint on I-229 netted 21 alcohol/drug-related arrests and citations out of 757 vehicles checked.
I wouldn’t say there’s a policy conclusion here, just a community note: hunters, when you see all those signs saying, “Welcome, Hunters!” we don’t mean you’re welcome to act like slobs. Enjoy your hunt, enjoy the big sky and wide open prairie, but follow the rules and respect the natural bounty we share for your sport.