Governor Kristi Noem spent $900,000 to give away traps and $500,000 on varmint bounties on the premise that killing more furry predators would give us more feathered friends to shoot. After that motivation was widely panned as unscientific, Team Noem shifted to justifying the Nest Predator Bounty Program as a way to encourage kids to go play outside.
Fewer kids appear to have gone outside to play at killing more creatures. Game Fish and Parks reported at last week’s GF&P Commission meeting that it has sold 25,962 fewer hunting and fishing licenses and brought in $1,146,631 less in revenue this year than it did in 2018.
Check those youth numbers:
- Resident youth small game licenses: down 11.3%.
- Junior combination (age 16–18) licenses: down 6.0%.
- Non-resident youth small game licenses: down 19%.
- Youth annual fishing licenses: down 9.8%.
So whether we’re measuring by pheasants or youth in the field, Noem’s critter-trapping initiative appears not to have achieved her stated goals.