The second year of Governor Kristi Noem’s great varmint hunt closes in two short weeks! Trappers have until July 1 to snare raccoon, striped skunk, badger, opossum, and red fox, chop off their tails, and haul their posteriors to the Game Fish and Parks office for their due reward.
For all the Governor’s claims that her program is wildly popular, trappers don’t seem as enthusiastic about catching those darned eaters of pheasant eggs this year. By June 6 last year, we had a pile of 22,851 varmint tails. As of today, June 17, our Nest Predator Bounty season has produced only 16,466 tails. That’s well short of the 50K tail cap. You’d think our state tail collections would be up, since taking the kids out to catch and kill furry critters is a great way to enjoy yourself while socially distancing yourself from coronavirus. But coronavirus could be depressing tail submissions by limiting access to GF&P offices for turn-in. Submissions could also be down because Governor Noem cut the due reward from $10 per tail to $5.
Last year’s great varmint trapaganza predictably failed to achieve its original goal of boosting pheasant populations. We’ll have less data available this year to check for diminished impact of diminished trapping, because Game Fish & Parks has decided to stop collecting data on the pheasant population.
But hey, get those last tails in! GF&P offices in Sioux Falls, Huron, Rapid City, Chamberlain, Fort Pierre, Mobridge, Webster, Watertown, and Aberdeen will be taking tails from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 19, June 26, and July 1. GF&P will also take tails on at the Mitchell GF&P office, Lake Herman State Park, and at the Midway 46/81 junction from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 17 and June 24.