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No More Bounties for Varmints: Nest Predator Program Maxes Out

Skunk mama and babies
Come on out, kids!

Raccoon, skunk, opossum, fox, and badger, rejoice! Governor Noem’s Nest Predatory Bounty Program is done!

Or perhaps our those varmints should hang their heads in solemn remembrance of their 50,000 furry friends who met an untimely end at the hands of South Dakota trappers who maxed out the program’s $500,000 appropriation for $10 bounties for each tail brought in three weeks before the program was scheduled to end:

On August 12, the Nest Predator Bounty Program will close after receiving 50,000 nest predator tails from nearly 3,000 participants.

…The bulk of submissions came from raccoon tails at 37,720 followed by the submission of 5,529 skunk tails. The top counties that participated in the program have included: Minnehaha, Beadle, Yankton, Grant, Brookings, Turner, Kingsbury, Clark, Roberts and Lake counties [SD Game Fish & Parks, press release, 2019.08.09].

GF&P Secretary Kelly Hepler calls the program a success, not based on any data showing we’ve achieved the originating goal of the program to help more pheasants survive so we can kill them in the fall (GF&P says we won’t ever get that data), but on the specious appeal to family values to which the state has twistedly shifted in marketing this frivolous gubernatorial initiative:

“I want to sincerely thank Governor Noem for taking the initiative to develop a program that encouraged individuals and families to get outside while allowing the department to implement it,” said Game, Fish and Parks’ Secretary, Kelly Hepler. “The success of this program is directly tied to the stories we have received from the families who were inspired to start trapping for the first time. One Huron dad told us that this was one of the first times he and his son were able to connect through an activity other than video games. And a grandma told us that this is a way she can spend time outside with her grandkids” [GF&P, 2019.08.09].

Governor Noem could also have spent $500,000 to introduce that grandma and her descendants to camping, hiking, biking, birdwatching, gardening. But those pursuits are probably too “urban” for Kristi: the outdoors are for killing!

GF&P will accept tails one last time this Monday, August 12, at its offices in Aberdeen, Chamberlain, Fort Pierre, Huron, Mobridge, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and Vermillion. Under no circumstances should you bring dead animal tails to the office of the Governor herself. No way.


  1. Cathy 2019-08-10 11:27

    $500K would have bought a lot of gravel to help counties repair their flood-damaged roads for pheasant hunters to drive on.

  2. Porter Lansing 2019-08-10 13:48

    Any fingers or thumbs lost?

  3. Loren 2019-08-10 16:45

    We kill the nest predators so that we have more birds to kill in the fall? Ahhh, what recreation!

  4. grudznick 2019-08-10 20:31

    Counties should probably pony up their own road money from property taxes and not expect hunter’s license fees to pay for it all. Counties need to consolidate, we should have 35 counties, and then we need to knock some heads on the councils to focus their taxes and spending. Counties are the jurisdictional embodiment of what is wrong with government. grudznick hates counties, and would vote to have the County of Pennington absorbed into the County of Custer any day.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-08-11 09:59

    Loren, South Dakota is the Land of Infinite Irony.

    As your next Governor, I will to appoint Phyllis Cole-Dai as Secretary of Comtemplative Oneness, in which position she will lead the first statewide Day of No Killing, a celebration of South Dakota’s true commitment to the sanctity of life.

  6. William 2019-08-13 07:05

    You want more pheasants in South Dakota? Suspend the season for a couple of years and watch the pheasant population explode!

  7. mike from iowa 2019-08-13 07:23

    Kill more habitat and then you have less nests to predate, ergo you have less predators to raise less predators of their own, ergo with less predators you have more pheasants to predate as the apex predator with a deep bank account to afford guided slaughters. TIC

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-08-14 07:30

    I would be curious to hear GF&P discuss WIlliams suggestion: could we be overhunting a stressed population?

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