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Noem’s Trap-Mania Unseemly and Ineffective

South Dakota author Jerry Wilson finds the family values Governor Kristi Noem thinks she’s teaching with her Nest Predator Bounty Program out of whack:

Defining the ‘family outdoor experience’ as going out together as a family and trapping and killing fellow creatures, cutting off their tails for a $10 bounty and tossing their body away, there’s something really wrong about that [Jerry Wilson, quoted in Roz Brown, “Critics Cry ‘Fowl’ over S.D. Pheasant Protection Bounty Program,” KELO Radio, 2019.06.06].

Wilson is concerned that Noem’s trap-o-rama also takes biodiversity in the wrong direction:

A recent study of 132 countries documented the decline in biodiversity across the globe.

With that in mind, Wilson says he doesn’t believe a taxpayer-funded program to kill native mammals in favor of a bird imported from China 100 years ago is appropriate.

“I’m all in favor of habitat restoration, but what bothers me is the idea that we should try to kill off as many of our native animals and upset the natural balance just in order to promote a money-making industry,” he states [Brown, 2019.06.06].

But not to worry, says Game Fish & Parks. As tails submitted approach 23,000, we’re nowhere near harming the population of the targeted furry varmints:

…Keith Fisk, program administrator at South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, doesn’t expect the bounty program to negatively affect their populations.

“So, those fur-bearer populations are extremely strong in South Dakota,” he states. “At the end of the day, if 50,000 of these nest predators get removed, it’s not going to impact the population of those species in South Dakota at all” [Brown, 2019.06.06].

Wait a minute: this program is intended reduce the number of raccoon, striped skunk, opossum, red fox, and badger who eat pheasant eggs. But the man in charge of managing the critters who eat stuff we don’t want them to eat says that even if we reach the trap cap of 50,000 critters/$500,000 in bounties, we won’t impact the critter population “at all”? Wouldn’t that mean that we aren’t going to impact the number pheasant eggs eaten at all?

Director Fisk expressed a strange agnosticism about Noem’s program back during Session:

Tracking the benefit of the bounty program, too, likely will prove difficult Fisk said. There’s science on both sides of the issue he said pointing to a South Dakota study in the 1970s that showed trapping could have an impact on localized areas and a more recent GFP study that showed mixed results.

“In my opinion it’s going to be very difficult to ascertain the benefit of the program,” Fisk said in reference to it’s helping pheasants [Nick Lowery, “South Dakota Pheasant Nest Predator Program Proposed,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2019.03.01].

17,000 raccoon, 3,600 skunk, 1,900 opossum, 192 fox, and 159 badger killed so far, just for kicks, for an purported conservation aim that the state’s own expert says we couldn’t measure even if it existed. Governor Noem has resisted other policies, like Medicaid expansion and hemp cultivation, with a lot more evidence in their favor. But she broke rules to throw money at this coondoggle.


  1. mike from iowa 2019-06-06 08:09

    Be interesting to watch what happens when the price of all these fur bearer hides go way up again. And they will and the state is asking people to kill them for their tails.

    Jeez, a good badger hair shaving lather brush is priceless and you can only get genuine badger hair from a badger and they have one of the more valuable pelts in this part of the country when prime.

  2. mike from iowa 2019-06-06 08:10

    Fur buyers usually want the tails split and dried on the pelt when buying.

  3. Dana P 2019-06-06 08:32

    Who knew that Ms Noem was going to be a trap and spend republican?

    This “program” continues to be ridiculous. Even launching it to begin with, was ludicrous. It’s a headshaker. An angry headshaker.

  4. Shari Kosel 2019-06-06 09:00

    When I reached out to the GFP attorney about prior studies on the number of these species and the potential impact on our natural ecosystem, his response was the most unscientific analysis I’ve seen and no mention of the babies killed during rearing season.

    Email received 5/21/19: “An environmental review is not necessary under the premise that the number of nest predators projected to be harvested during the nest predator bounty program will remain insignificant at the population level and will not have an overall impact on population sustainability into the future. For example, let’s assume 30,000 raccoons are removed during the nest predator bounty program across South Dakota, that equates to 0.39 raccoons removed for every 640 acres (1 sq mile), which remains insignificant at the population level. ” Jon Kotilnek | Senior Staff Attorney, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

    Although not part of the bounty program, Sioux Falls has also jumped on the senseless killing bandwagon. Sioux Falls Animal Control Supervisor Julie DeJong has ordered her staff to kill ALL wildlife they trap or from nuisance reports received. Previously they would only kill those with diseases by doing tests on the animals. Now? No tests, just kill. Because….a bullet is cheaper. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  5. mike from iowa 2019-06-06 12:17

    Mortality for young of the fur bearers is quite high, if memory serves. Even skunks are killed by birds of prey and coyotes and such. Killing brood animals before young are raised means even fewer tails to go around. I imagine the balance in nature would get whacked in a hurry and that causes its own set of problems.

  6. SDBlue 2019-06-06 14:46

    We really need to stop calling Republicans conservative. They do not “conserve” anything. All they do is destroy.

  7. Eve Fisher 2019-06-06 15:17

    SDBLue is 100% right. There’s nothing conservative left.

  8. jerry 2019-06-06 15:26

    As the game fish and parks no longer exists in the state, it is up to mother nature to regulate the pests called pheasants. More blizzards and floods should do the trick.

  9. Debbo 2019-06-06 15:52

    ICYMI, per National Geographic, a group of pheasants is called a “nye” or “head.”

    Just sayin.

  10. Leticia Gilmore 2019-06-07 07:24

    The nest predator program is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Heartless and cold mixed with stupidity and ineptitude. Wonder if the rest of Kristi’s tenure as Governor will be the same?

  11. chris 2019-06-07 09:28

    Kristi’s long-term program to train the next generation of CBP officers…

  12. happy camper 2019-06-09 22:23

    It’s inhumane and unnecessary. In the depression we tried to attract Ernest Hemingway as a way to boost our economy come to South Dakota but he only came to Lake County with conditions of anonymity. He had a “nice hunt” and only took.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-06-10 07:20

    Shari’s additional evidence suggests there is an unhealthy rejection of science and embrace of yahooism in the Noem regime. Trumpistan is all about affirming brutish, impulsive behavior.

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