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.