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GF&P Comments Running Far Below Noem’s Claimed 83% Approval for Nest Predator Bounty Program

Governor Kristi Noem and Game Fish & Parks claim that 83% of South Dakotans approve of the Governor’s Nest Predator Bounty Program, the unscientific and ineffective 2019 program of paying trappers $10 for each tail of a raccoon, skunk, opossum, fox, or badger they bring in to their local GF&P office.

That 83% figure doesn’t square with the approval rate so far in the public comment GF&P has taken in the run-up to the Game Fish and Parks Commission meeting tomorrow on the state’s plan to offer bounties for nest predators again this year (though only at $5 a tail). Reviewing just the first page of public comments, I find maybe 20 statements of support for renewing the Nest Predator Bounty Program versus 300 statements against. The second page appears to have seven more supporters and 117 opponents. Overall, 27 supporters out of 444 responses is 6% approval. Among the opponent statements:

Linda Hasselstrom, Hermosa: I am a rancher and landowner in Custer County. I ferociously oppose this wasteful program and will not allow any trapping under this program to occur on my land. Nor, while this program is in effect, will ANY hunters be allowed on my land. This program is completely the brainwave of Gov. Noem and is poorly considered.

Candy Manthey, Rapid City: As a farmer/rancher, hunter, and avid outdoors person I strongly oppose this entire program. It mocks the very purpose of your office, IMHO. As caretakers of our natural resources it is a crying shame to think that this state program, which traps animals during nesting season when young animals are in the most vulnerable period, is being sponsored by your office. This is a cruel time to trap. The furs are worthless and it is simply a “killing field”. You don’t hunt deer or big game or birds during this time because it is cruel and inhumane to do so. So should it be considered for small mammals, regardless of their impact on pheasants, etc. Killing something in a limited area that is problematic is one thing. I shoot coon or badgers or skunks as needed when in my farmyard doing damage. But to trap like this is against anything I was taught as a kid by my parents and grandparents…real nature conservationists in their every day farming lifestyle. I hope someone will stand up to the East River, money hungry minds that support this awful program and say, “Enough!” Please look at the statistics and be honest about what you are promoting here and why. Thank you [public comments, submitted to Game Fish & Parks Commission, retrieved 2020.03.03].

Public Enemy #1?

The Game Fish & Parks Commission will discuss these public comments and the fate of the Nest Predator Bounty Program tomorrow, March 5, and Friday, March 6, at the Ramkota in Pierre. The agenda says the meeting starts Thursday at 10 a.m. Central, 9 a.m. Mountain; the public hearing on the trapping bounty program and other proposed rule changes begins at 2 p.m. Central/1 p.m. Mountain. During the public portion, GF&P will open the floor to live public comment at the Pierre meeting site and via videoconference from the GF&P Regional Offices in Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Pierre. They’ll provide a live stream via SDPB.


  1. Ray Tysdal 2020-03-04

    As I understand it, last year’s program led to many road-killed critters in Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Wyoming losing their tails. Just as with the “Meth, we’re on it” ad campaign, Kristi sends money out of state.

  2. Scott 2020-03-04

    From what I remember from the 1st year stats, a lot of the money was going to people in the southeast corner of the state. That part of the state is known for its population of residents, not known for pheasant population.

    The program, if continued, should target the area west of the James River. That is where the pheasants are at and where hunters are headed.

  3. Debbo 2020-03-04

    If I recall, Klueless Kristi’s poll of the program was about the “perception,” not the actual effectiveness of this goofy idea. Either the perception has gone down the tubes or the pollsters were very about who the talked to.

  4. Kay Sarvis Forman 2020-03-05

    Cruel and inhumane idea. What a strange way to teach children to have a love of nature. SD should be better than this. I no longer live in SD but I was born and raised there and still have many relatives in SD. None of them support this horrible initiative.

  5. JM 2020-03-05

    The bulk of the non-program participants polled (an incompetent sample size) are apathetic or unaware of the opportunity to comment on the new proposal as much as they were unaware of the proposal in the first place. It would appear that the preponderance of the previously polled program participants are also apathetic since their responses to the new proposal seem to be depressed as well. Raises the question; what are all those 8-9 year old kids going to do with the three traps they received that cost the license buying public close to $700,000. Any bets they get sold in the flea markets and internet thrift stores to help pay for a new I phone?

    Check out the most recent Commission Agenda for more crude insults to the Public Trust Doctrine and the general hunting public. Noem’s malicious cadre of conservation were busy in the Senate twisting arms to pass HB 1187 on behalf of their Outfitter handlers. In that case, all the use and abuse conservatives didn’t appear to bother to read comments sent to them.

  6. K J Mahoney 2020-03-05

    I join many others in opposing this program. Trapping this time of year when young are dependent upon their parents is inhumane. As a wildlife photographer, I have talked with many people, including GFP officials, trappers, and hunters and have found no one who is in strong favor of this program. Your timing and motives are not favorable to your constituents, Governor Noem. Please, abandon this program.

  7. Barry Betts 2020-03-05

    As a retired wildlife biologist of 50 years, including a stint with SD GFP, I oppose the proposed Nest Predator Bounty Program. A 2 year study of a control site and an adjacent trap/kill in any way site in Eastern S.D. in the 1970’s ended up with no difference between the two areas and pheasant populations were actually for the control site. Bounty programs have never worked and trapping predators during their “raising the kids” is simply inhumane. In fact, research has proven that predators have the ability of giving birth to larger litters during low population periods – which means the more you trap and kill the more babies that will be born!! Put the money into habitat programs instead.

  8. Beatrice Sanders 2020-03-05

    Killing small nest predators so the state will make more money for Out-of State hunter who pay for licenses. Truly cruel and mean spirited. Shame on you Kristi!

  9. Patricia Cressy 2020-03-05

    Nobody asked me. I still think it’s wrong. Wet years kill more animals then the prediture animals do. How are they going to trap that? If they are going to make us live with this they need to make it that the traps are checked EVERY 24 HOURS. It’s very evil & cruel to leave animals scared, hurt & hungry.

  10. H Huss 2020-03-06

    Completely inhumane and disgusting to even consider a program like this. I think most of us know Governor Noem would think something like this was acceptable. Of course she would think lesser of nature and our wildlife. Since for her it’s all about how to fill her own pockets. Nothing but greed. Prove us wrong Noem and show us you actually have a heart and are willing to take on the challenge of finding better solutions.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-06

    Or Scott, how about we just put the entire James River Valley into CRP, so pheasants have enough habitat to breed and reach a higher equilibrium population with the predators in a healthier ecosystem?

    By the way, how many of those targeted predators are native species?

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